Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, 2 of 52

Wow, can hardly believe that I have finished my second book. In truth it was a short book, but one that has been sitting on my bedside table for a few months begging to be read. Our book club decided that we each should purchase one of the popular penguin books each, then throw them into a pile and choose one each to read; but not the one we purchased ourselves. I had already read the book I purchased, For the Term of His Natural Life by Marcus Clark, a rivetting tale of a convict sent to Tasmania’s penal colony and his ambition to escape. I didn’t even check inside the book, knowing how much I enjoyed the story reading it as we holidayed around Tassie; imagine my horror when I opened it and saw the microscopic font. Why Penguin, why? 

My first impulse was to buy Dracula by Bram Stoker, as I remember reading this as a teenager and the wonderful eerie world it evoked and wanted to share this.  A little bird in the meantime had told me that Liz had purchased Frankenstein, so I thought one old gothic horror story would be enough. I enjoy the monster/vampire genre, although have not read any of the Twilight series and am resisting the temptation. My last vampire book several years ago, that I really enjoyed was The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova – a long, gothic and winding tale that really captured my imagination. It had been a while since I read in this genre so I set my sights on Frankenstein.

What a reward it was to read this story. I could not relate it to the movie version of Frankenstein at all, it seemed so far removed what I was reading from the movie world interpretation of it. Even the Gene Wilder version – which I loved!! (wink)  As I read the tale, I felt that Mary Shelley was presenting a tale of old in book form, it felt as if I was spending time with a great seannachie. Her use of language is at once heart rendingly beautiful and mysterious. The characters in the book seemed to take on a life of their own, whilst there is scant description of the appearance of many of the characters, the descriptions given were so wonderfully constructed that the characters came to life in my mind.

I found myself feeling terribly frustrated with the main character Frankenstein, he seemed rather pathetic, self-obsessed and lacking in courage or conviction, of which he paid the price. The peripheral characters of his loved ones were amazingly tolerant and compassionate towards his needs. The monster was such a revelation, he was obviously so horrid in appearance that people could not look at him without fear. He suffered humiliation, degradation, rejection and violence against him; eventually he turned against those who he sought to be friends with in a violent and unacceptable way. But I found myself sympathising with him and becoming angry with the prejudice against him. I couldn’t help feeling that this book was a story about prejudice in its many forms, I have never read any reviews on the story so may be way off  beam on this. The old ‘you cant judge a book by its cover’ proverb.

In summary I loved this book, it was a little slow to start and I think that was largely my getting used to the language style.

Readability 8 out of 10

Cant put down rating 9 out of 10

Recommend to others 9 out of 10

Do I want to read another book by this author – yes

Book #3 The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway

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