Review: Frankenstein

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

For the majority of people, the name Frankenstein conjures up images of of a large green hideous monster covered in stitched scars with large rusted bolts protruding from his neck; and why shouldn’t it? We’ve all grown up with Frankenstein as a legendary pop culture icon who has been through so many incarnations that somehow culturally we have forgotten his roots lie in classical early 19th century literature.

Over the course of time, Mary Shellys original story has been almost completely forgotten in a sea of adaptations which took a lot of liberties with the source material; the most obvious of these is that fact that Frankenstein is the name of the creator, and the monster himself is never named.

In Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein, we are treated to a very different story from the one we know. The monster is more commonly known as a simple monosyllabic Goliath who is breathed to life on the whim of a mad scientist, and stumbles and shuffles his way into trouble with the locals. Shelly depicts and entirely different creature, one whom draw life from the obsessions of a brilliant scientist named Victor Frankenstein, who creates this new life and then subsequently abandons it. The monster in this version is an intelligent creature who descends slowly into darkness and evil actions through the course of his loneliness and abandonment.

The book itself was an interesting read. I can’t say it was a complete page turner, but it’s a story that was clearly ahead of its time. It’s worth noting that this is regarded as one of the earliest works of science fiction. The story did a good job of sympathising with the beast despite his murderous intentions towards family members of his creator, and his creator has much more depth than in subsequent incarnations because he’s painted as a man who made the mistake of playing god, and then paid the price in blood.

It was nice to read the origins of a legend, but it’s not something I’d read again.

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