Sunday, April 25, 2010

Book Review - Frankenstein

Okay, so I know this isn't a "current" book, YA, and it has nothing to do with writing. But I am a firm believer that a writer should take into account everything read, and so I'm leaving my thoughts.

(Plus, I just finished reading it for school, so I'm letting out my thoughts on it here.)

So, Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. Also knows as "the modern Prometheus." In France in the seventeen-hundreds, Victor Frankenstein, obsessed with his studies, discovers the secret to bringing life to inanimate life-forms, and thus the "creature" is born! (This is where I will state that referring to the creature as Frankenstein only promotes your own ignorance. Hollywood exploited this incorrect name. In fact, the creature has no name! the book anyway.)

So Frankenstein creates a monster, and all hell breaks loose, in his world that is. I'm not going to spoil it for anyone who may have had a desire to read it, so that's as far as I go.

Now, overall, I can't say I enjoyed this book too much. It's written in a language that, as an eighteen-year-old, I can't understand as well. It's easy to get lost in the text and gloss over the story that is being told. That being said, if you can manage to pay attention, there are some intense scenes that warrant Mary Shelley's legitimacy as being one of the greatest authors of all time.

One thing that I thoroughly enjoyed is a great literary element called the "frame story." In Frankenstein, you can count at least four different stories. It starts with Walton, writing letters to his sister. He comes across Frankenstein, who tells him his story, which is written by Walton in the letters. In the middle of Frankenstein's story, his creature tells him his own story of his life after being created. In the middle of that story, he tells the story of a group of cottagers. When that story is over, the creature continues. When the creature is finished, Frankenstein continues. And when Frankenstein ends his story, Walton continues in a few final letters to his sister.

It is a lot to keep track of, but it is definitely something that you don't see everywhere. It forces the mind to think. I wouldn't mind coming across this kind of story somewhere else.

Now I'm going to throw out another literary term for you all -- epistolary. An epistolary is a story that is told from a letter, journal, etc. How many people have written stories/novels like this, not knowing that there was a proper literary term for this?

All in all, Frankenstein isn't a horrible read, but you have to have yourself invested if you want to get through it. And if you think it's going to be like the movies -- the classic monster with the bolts in his neck and the lightning, and all those other cliches -- stop it now. It's nothing like that, and for that, it's probably better.

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