Thursday 2 July 2020

Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft "Frankenstein"

Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft "Frankenstein: or, The Modern Prometheus" - 1818

I always wanted to read this book, it's one of the classics that doesn't really fit into my usual genre but it is definitely a classic. Apparently, one of the very first science fiction novels. Mary Wollstonecraft spent some time in Switzerland with her later husband Percy B. Shelley and Lord Byron when they decided to have a competition. Who would write the best horror story? I haven't read any of the two other authors but I'm sure Mary won this one.

Like a said, not my usual genre but our book club chose it as a solution to the lockdown procedures which prevented many of us to use our usual library and therefore, we needed something we could find online. Luckily, my son still has part of his books in our house so that I even had the book.

Frankenstein is not the monster, as people often believe. He's the creator. Although, maybe he has the touch of a monster in himself as he doesn't really care what will become of his creation. He is so ugly that he can't socialize and therefore becomes a monster.

This book is not just a horror story, there's a lot of psychology behind the scenes. We can look inside human beings, their dreams and their ambitions.

What I liked about the science fiction part, there are no strange explanations about how the being is created. You see this so often in films that they make something that is absolutely impossible in a way that you know wouldn't work. This way, there is nothing we can say was done incorrectly. We just have to imagine that it happened.

And before I forget, this is great writing. Not just the plot, also the style and technique are wonderful. Beautiful classic.

This was our international online book club novel in June 2020.

From the back cover:

"Mary Shelley began writing Frankenstein when she was only eighteen. At once a Gothic thriller, a passionate romance, and a cautionary tale about the dangers of science, Frankenstein tells the story of committed science student Victor Frankenstein. Obsessed with discovering the cause of generation and life and bestowing animation upon lifeless matter, Frankenstein assembles a human being from stolen body parts but; upon bringing it to life, he recoils in horror at the creature's hideousness. Tormented by isolation and loneliness, the once-innocent creature turns to evil and unleashes a campaign of murderous revenge against his creator, Frankenstein.

Frankenstein, an instant bestseller and an important ancestor of both the horror and science fiction genres, not only tells a terrifying story, but also raises profound, disturbing questions about the very nature of life and the place of humankind within the cosmos: What does it mean to be human? What responsibilities do we have to each other? How far can we go in tampering with Nature? In our age, filled with news of organ donation genetic engineering, and bio-terrorism, these questions are more relevant than ever."


  1. Replies
    1. I just saw a post somewhere where the writer said she was surprised she liked it so much. I can say the same for me.


  2. Funny, I just reread Frankenstein last month and another person I know has also reread this novel recently.

    I liked this novel more the 1st time around than the second time around, but still feel it's a wonderful and relevant classic.

    Here's a link to mt review:

  3. I just said to Judy ^^ that I saw another post about someone who really liked it. Same as her, I had not expected to like it so much.

    Thanks for the link, I'll go and see it now.

  4. I have always hesitated reading it, because of the genre, but I really need to try it one day

    1. That was the same reason for me. I'm glad my book club chose it, I might never have tried. It's not as "gothic" as one would think, on the contrary. If you like authors of that time (Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, the Brontës), you will like this novel.

  5. Like you I felt this is not my usual genre. I must say though, I really loved it. Thought it was a wonderful, touching story. I think the original story has been destroyed by various filmversions. It is a little bit the same with Dracula. Just loved Bram Stokers original story.

    1. "Dracula" is still on my wishlist but after having read and loved "Frankenstein", I think I ought to give it a go soon. I never watched any of those films, same as the books, horror is not my thing. Or fantasy. Or science fiction. LOL. However, sometimes you find a story that you love despite it being from those genres you don't really like that much. That's why I keep trying different kinds of literature. I might sometimes not enjoy it but often I find a real gem.

    2. That is true. I never liked vampire novels until I read this one. After reading the Twilight series and watching True Blood I am a fan...haha!
      You are right, we have to try genres from time to time, even if we think we do not like them. It is always nice to be surprised.