I'm sure I'm safe to say that everyone has heard of the name Frankenstein. Why wouldn't you have by now? It's the name of the monster with trumpet ears and a face the shape of a stale loaf of bread, who will either strangle you or poison you in the night. Uh, not quite. This is the story of Victor Frankenstein, a boy who grew up to love chemistry and the wonders of how The Industrial Revolution has brought up explanations of the universe that contradict religions, and he one day starts investing his time into a creation; a living being with the art. The only problem about this creation; there may not be a place in the world for it. And for a creation that was man-made from scratch, that creation man-made from scratch can have feelings.
Back when I was nine, I got interested in Moby Dick when the Bone books brought it up, and my dad had a copy of the killer whale story. I got through 150 pages before I gave up, having too many details per page preventing me from feeling the book was taking off to the watery parts of the world. And I recognized some of that when I started this book, except it wasn't quite as bad. In fact, the style of writing didn't turn out so static and obnoxious as I expected. Still, one thing that greatly impacts a book is my desire to linger in it, and this was a book where I for the most part couldn't wait for it to end. But it was when the creation of the creature, (not Frankenstein) came into view that my hand dropped from my cheek. This was coming up much faster than Moby Dick.Plus, the letters from Walton to his wife Margaret were interesting and understandable, as well as Victor growing up and switching passions in an even more interesting turnabout to choice of desire. Henry Clerval, Victor's friend, is a sidekick-esque friend that has humour without condescendingly lower-class, and cousin Elizabeth is a character I grew to mildly care for, even if she wasn't in the picture for most of the story, which can be hard to accomplish. Now, I generally think that a cousin-cousin romance is plain eeeewww and expired after the turn of the 19th century, but here it's just fine because we know Elizabeth is a good character and the book isn't about her and afraid to show it.
The class I'm taking for this book is about what makes a monster, and the first sign of a monster is a murder that leads to a murder, that effectively made me sad; not enough to make me shed a tear but enough to have a lasting effect, which is a cliche term but there it is. And Victor blames the monster for it all, jumping to conclusions that I thought were uncalled for until we got to read from the monster's point of view. Yep, this is not a racist book, but rather a book about racism. When the monster discusses Felix in admiration and Felix does nothing of the sort back, and actually does the opposite only upon viewing the monster in his house despite no sense of aggression, it is monumentally pitiful. You just want to rub the monster's shoulder. That is, until he actually does become a monster and you hope to have him fall into a quicksand pool.
All the while, the writing is once again quite poetic. But it's also often dragging. I may be expressing my views on the book as if I loved it, but I didn't for a few small reasons. One is there were a few word placements that get repetitive like "ardour, benefactor, a few others" and at the end, there is a part where Victor answers in insanity where I felt he didn't have to; he was openly admitting something without telling the whole story behind his confession and what dangers are actually out there.
But trust me when I say this book gripped me in ways I was worried the writing would paint over but didn't. Most notable is Felix trying to release his family from the grip of the Turk by turning himself in. I also enjoyed the inevitable execution of a woman who apparently murdered but the acquittance of a man who apparently murdered. And the deaths this book wraps up on will probably make most readers tremble in how fast it goes, sort of like the last scene from the overrated Hamlet play, only the character deaths tugged. The ending also wasn't what I expected, in both positive and negative ways. Last year, I read a book called Alias Grace and it had one of the worst denouements I had ever read because I kept waiting for a big big finale. Here, I didn't expect the way the book finishes, and I'm one step disappointed, two steps satisfied. When I figured out the relation between Robert Walton and Victor, which I kept wondering about for the whole book after the four letters, when I finally understood, it was a minor pleasure. We also have an ending that isn't all peaches and cream, and the effect it had on me was superbly surprising and I myself am amazed at how much I liked the book overall. However, most of the books I recommend on this website are ones that I would recommend if you didn't like reading in general and wanted something that would entertain you and show you the magic of literature. I wouldn't recommend this book to anyone who's just starting out, but it has quite the story on top of its poetry.