What’s That Book? Frankenstein by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley


Author:  Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley

Genre: Fantasy Fiction, Gothic Fiction

Rating:  ****

What’s it about?  The story of young scientist Victor Frankenstein and a risky experiment to create life. The result? A grotesque monster that escapes and must deal with a world in which he has no place.

How did you hear about it?  Although I knew about the Frankenstein monster, I did not know the whole story. I decided to read it when my son read it for his summer reading.

Closing comments:  Early into Frankenstein, I might have given it 3 stars because of its old-fashioned language and letter-writing format. I found this part of Shelley’s writing stiff and uninteresting. That all changed once Walton rescued Victor Frankenstein from the icy sea near the North Pole.

Frankenstein’s story is great on a couple levels. First, the thriller element still has its appeal. I was fascinated that Victor created life and I wondered at the consequences. I was sympathetic to the monster’s plight, being alone in the world, considered grotesque by all those who saw him. I wanted Felix, Agatha and their father to accept him. I wanted him to have a companion. And I was shocked at his murderous way of dealing with loneliness.

The overlying themes of love, friendship, loneliness and loss enrich this story and the question of whether Frankenstein has the right to create life made me think about the larger responsibilities of man to his fellow man.

Contributor:  Ginette

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17 thoughts on “What’s That Book? Frankenstein by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley

  1. Its one of the finest books embedded with gothic and horror theme I’ve ever read.

  2. An amazing story from one so young. I’ve always wondered where she got her idea for the book, because it is so goulish. She imbued it with real emotion, though.

  3. The classic retelling of the Prometheus myth. A lot can be said about the symbolism in this book. In college, I wrote a paper on ice symbolism. Thanks for reminding me of the classic work.

    1. Hi Jeff – thanks for stopping by and commenting. I’ll have to go back and look for clues about ice and their significance in the story. You are the symbolism expert! Have a great weekend.

    1. Hi Stephanie – it’s a good one, but if you do read it, don’t get bogged down by the early chapters, which are kind of slow and dated, because the story picks up after that. Happy reading!

  4. Very good review. I agree on everything, too. I read it earlier this year and was amazed by two things: 1) How well the basic story was presented in all kinds of cartoons (LOL) and, 2) How rich of a story it was. I was very moved at parts of it. It was a far better reading experience than I anticipated.

  5. I can’t remember when I first read Frankenstein, but I loved it. I was never into the Frankenstein monster movies (unless it involved Abbott & Costello or Gene Wilder), but the book is still intriguing in how it differs from what we normally think of when someone mentions “Frankenstein.”

    1. Yes, I admit I only knew the Frankenstein of popular culture and I’m sure as a kid I thought Frankenstein was the monster. But this story is so well done and the characters and emotions are very realistic, despite the fantasy element. Thanks for stopping by!

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