Book Review: Frankenstein by Mary Shelley Skip to content

Review: Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

Book Review: Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

“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.”

Book Review: Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

What I thought:

Fair warning, friends – there’s a big spoiler lower down. If you’ve read this book ignore my warning, but if you’ve yet to read it you may want to skip it. I’ve marked it accordingly so you can’t miss it 🙂

I find reviewing classics difficult. Raise your hands if you don’t know anything about Frankenstein? No one? My point exactly! I always worry a classic will be hard to read, but this was easy to get into and I enjoyed it–right up until the end which was anti-climactic and left me feeling let down. The spoiler explains why, but I do recommend you skip it if you haven’t read the book yet. Unless you don’t mind spoilers, of course 🙂

Frankenstein is about a young man obsessed with the need to create something he believed would be an end to all sickness, but who was so repulsed with the result that he rejected it. Things escalated from there, and his creation sought to destroy his life and everyone he loved. It’s a reminder that just because we can doesn’t mean we should.

And that’s the plot in a nutshell, really! 🙂

I felt sorry for the monster. Rejected by the man who created him, all he wants is to be accepted and loved rather than feared and rejected by the rest of society. That doesn’t sound unreasonable to me. It’s what everyone wants, after all, but not only does Frankenstein reject the monster, he also gives him hope just to shatter it later. Anyone would be angry after that, right?

Now, look away if you don’t want the ending spoiled:

SPOILER The whole plot builds toward this epic fight between creator and creation. Frankenstein himself wonders several times how he can possibly win since his creation is so much stronger and faster, he only knows that he has to defeat his creation. So, when Frankenstein dies of sickness and exhaustion at the end of the book without even facing his creation one last time, I felt somewhat let down. The monster itself sails out to sea never to be seen again. Nothing gets resolved. If you’re a writer and have wondered why anything you foreshadow needs to be realised, here’s an excellent example. SPOILER END

So, while I enjoyed the book, I was also disappointed with the end. It’s incredible that Shelley wrote it when she was a teenager, but I still feel like I was robbed of this one thing she promised.

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