Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

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“Nothing is so painful to the human mind as a great and sudden change.”

— Mary Shelley, Frankenstein

    I guess it was about time that I finally took a dive into the very original story of one of the most famous monsters out there. Seeing the big green creature left and right around Halloween in every form possible, whether its a show, a movie or in person, his background has always been summed up as the man brought back to life through an electrifying experiment. Now that I’ve read his story, I can definitely tell you that it wasn’t exactly what I thought it would be. Oh, no, no, no. This is one classic filled with correspondences and flowery writing like none other. Although it did enlighten me on how Victor Frankenstein’s creation came to life, it definitely didn’t impress me with its writing style, characterization and its abundance of details. Its themes and the moral of the story does stir up some nice little discussions for those who wish it, but if you were looking for a story that would raise the hair on the back of your neck, make you sweat in fear or have you cowering for a week at the mere thought of this legendary creature, this is not where you’ll find it.

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    If you try to imagine the creation of Victor Frankenstein, you’ll probably have a pretty vivid picture of the giant green man with iron bolts on each side of his neck, a nice ragged three-piece suit (blazer, black shirt and black jeans of course) as well as an inability to talk fluently. Mary Shelley’s original concept of this so-called daemon is however far different than you’d ever imagine. This monster speaks more royally and effortlessly than anyone I ever knew in my life. He still however has the overall ugliness that is commonly associated with him, but he has supernatural speed and a better survivability (able to go on intense diets that any normal human being wouldn’t dare envision themselves doing). This was definitely surprising, but also made so much more sense to how this classic story was able to catch the attention of so many in the past two centuries. In fact, even if the story is told through the wimpy eyes of the mad scientist who wanted to do the impossible by bringing to life the dead, a part of the book is also focused around the monster’s journey as an escapee into the world of humans.

    Now the real source of this storie’s fame lies in the lessons that the monster offers us. Being something that is not accepted and quickly judged by his appearance, his journey remains tumultuous and heavily isolated. With great stealth and a desire to do good, we are presented with instances where his desire to do good only turns against him because of his appearance. It’s after the third strike that he suddenly realizes how infuriating his very being is and how unacceptable it was of Victor Frankenstein of giving him a life cursed to be despised that a whirlwind of emotions throws the monsters on a path filled with revenge. Like the great Jean-Jacques Rousseau once said, Man is born good and it is society that corrupts him—my attempt to paraphrase, do not quote me. This classic story does raise some interesting debate upon this subject and offers us a monster that is born after a science experiment gone awry by a human being to make us ponder deeper questions. Personally, I vouch for men being born evil and learning through society to do good and promote positive behaviours in order to create a better society to live within. Mary Shelley’s investigation of human kindness—or simply human nature—gives us a creature for which we can only be saddened by his unfortunate state.

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    With guilt and fear driving most of Victor Frankenstein’s actions, the story told within Frankenstein remains fascinating in nature. I had a little too many issues with this story, and most of them came as a surprise, but it still remains that Mary Shelley’s oeuvre is the first piece of science fiction that has graced literature and earned its merits. While the exploits of Victor and his creation are iconic to us, their mere premise is something that will give birth to many more stories of the same origin. In fact, it wouldn’t be too far-fetched to see a little bit of resemblance between Victor and his projects with all those stories featuring mad scientists creating artificial intelligence? Besides the integrated letters within the narrative and the flowery writing that focuses on so much unnecessary details, I do have to mention my inability to distinguish characters by the manner they speak as they all talk the same. Maybe this is characteristic of the literature produced in those years (1818 has its perks), but it doesn’t help me understand how a monster has the same communication skills as his creator. Nevertheless, Frankenstein is one of those classics that are just nice to have read just to be able to say “been there, done that”, if anything else.


This classic novel was adapted into a movie directed by James Whale in 1931. If you ask me, it is the only true adaptation, yet it isn’t even adapting the book properly hahahah. I can’t imagine Hollywood ever making a successful reboot for this one anyways… Have you seen this movie? 🙂

Are you interested in Frankenstein?
How about you read this book for yourself!
You can purchase your copy @Amazon Canada or @Chapters Indigo now!

Frankenstein came out in 1818!

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MY OVERALL RATING: ★★★☆☆/

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40 thoughts on “Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

  1. Dani @ Perspective of a Writer says:

    My writing partner told me all about this book and I even tried to read it for myself at one point and could not get into it… GAH! I’ve read so many classics and it bums me out when I just can’t do one that I’ve heard so much about… 🙂 Reading your lovely review (even with its criticisms) I wondered if Shelley used her feelings about being a woman in a very restricting society as a basis for the monsters feelings?! I can see where she would be seen as a sort of monster? (I’m totally talking off the cuff as I have NO CLUE about her background at all… )

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lashaan (Bookidote) says:

      What held you from being able to complete this one? 😮 I like your take on it, and it really has me intrigued on Mary Shelley’s background now. I might have to dig into it just to see if there’s a layer to this cake that I haven’t tasted yet!

      Like

  2. simplyabookdrunkardblog says:

    I read this last year together with my fiancé. I really enjoyed it and it has been one of my favourite classics since. We were both annoyed by Victor tho, and how much he whines 🙈 If you are looking for a really good adaptation, see if you can find the theatre production with Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller… it is very true to the book, with a few minor adaptations. But its very good.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lashaan (Bookidote) says:

      Hahaahh I agree!! His whining is omnipresent throughout this story! I honestly did not see that coming when I embarked on this adventure. I really just imagined him as a mad scientist who saw no limits to the world, and that’s it. Waaaahhh I did not know about that theatre production and I just saw a trailer for it! I’m mind-blown by it. It looks amazing, and as a fan of Cumberbatch (especially for his role as Sherlock) this one has become a must for me! Thank you so much for sharing it with me!! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  3. ichabod2014ic says:

    Hi Lashaan.

    I read this many years ago. I took it as an allegory for having children. I thought of the monster as Victor’s child that was more than he could control. This book put me off from having children of my own. Just kidding… maybe.

    I love this old movie! Do not be a jaded, modern viewer. Watch this gorgeous film with the innocence of seeing it with fresh eyes.

    Happy Halloween!
    ~Icky. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lashaan (Bookidote) says:

      Hey there, Icky! Yep, I can definitely see the whole child angle to it too. I do however find it slightly harder to continue the analogy when we think about the monster’s request to have a female version of himself so that he may be loved… Might have to apply some psychoanalysis here to understand him now. 😀

      I actually saw the movie first, way back in high school, for a project. Definitely worth checking out without being too critical and without comparing it too much to today’s standards of cinema! 😀

      Happy Halloween to you too, my friend!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. ichabod2014ic says:

    Here are a couple of film adaptations that I can recommend. They are not as good as the 1931 version, but are still beautiful and interesting.

    -The Hammer film version has Peter Cushing as Dr. Frankenstein, and Christopher Lee as the monster.
    -‘Frankenstein Unbound’ is a freaky sci-fi version starring John Hurt. Frankly, I did not really understand it, but it was still super interesting!
    -‘The Bride’ starring pop icon Sting is a beautiful version of the story. It is a touching and wonderful film. It is filmed in Italy and features an ancient grotto ruin of fantastique art.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Chris Evans @ Geek Blogger UK says:

    Some great thoughts and insight on this one my friend! It’s actually one of my faves, sorry to hear it didn’t quite work for yourself. I have indeed seen the 1931 film (love those old Universal monster movies and own most of them on blu-ray), I actually saw it before I read the book so the more intellectual approach Shelley takes was quite a surprise!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lashaan (Bookidote) says:

      Thank you, my friend! I had a feeling you might have read and seen the movie too hahah I saw the movie before reading the book too, but I saw it in order to conduct a project back in high school. I guess it was just a little too much of a surprise to have my imagine of the monster being shattered by Shelley with this talking Hulk! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  6. LizScanlon says:

    I read Frankenstein 2 or 3 ears ago and much like you I was expecting more in some sense… However, as is often the case with classics- they defo had more impact in their own time and us here, now in modern day- we are so desensitized and expecting a whole ton of other stuff that CGI has spoilt us with 😀 haha.. but I agree with you again on the questions the monster raises for us humans… I did enjoy this part, I think it was the best of the book for me..

    and this:
    “Personally, I vouch for men being born evil and learning through society to do good and promote positive behaviours in order to create a better society to live within.”–> I think this is the first time I have heard this theory by anyone… it’s always the ‘we’re born good and turned evil’.. your version is something I will defo be pondering about for a while now…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lashaan (Bookidote) says:

      Indeed, Liz! Besides being desensitized and having seen “better” monsters, I guess the joy of reading Frankenstein is in discovering that the monster is far more intellectual and explores so much of humanity’s nature than you’d imagine.

      Hhahah I’m glad to get you to ponder on that! It was things that I first heard of back in college in my philosophy classes and as I was reading this book, for maybe obvious reasons, I just ended up thinking about it all again. It’s also nice to remember the book was written in 1818 and the mentality of people back in those days is far from being as open-minded as we are today! 😛

      Like

  7. Beth (Reading Every Night) says:

    Even though I’m not a massive fan of classics I’ve always felt that if I ever tried to genre again I’d pick up either this book of Dracula, simply because they’re the two that I’m the most interested in you know? I definitely have that image of Frankenstein in my head you described, it’s very strange to hear that’s not the case in this book. 🙂
    I’m sorry this one wasn’t quite what you expected it would be, it does seem like you still managed to enjoy the story despite that, I guess it just couldn’t match your expectations.
    Great review Lashaan. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lashaan (Bookidote) says:

      Hahaah I can see why you’d be draw to those two creatures! I wanted to learn about their origin story too right when I started to read a lot. Now I just need to read Dracula to check it off my bucket list! Maybe next Halloween will be a good time for it. 😀 Guess I’ve got you a little bit intrigued now at what the monster truly is huh? You’re going to have pick this book up to find out how different he is from what you’re used to calling “Frankenstein”! 😀 Thank you so much for reading, Beth!!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Beth (Reading Every Night) says:

        For me Dracula and Frankenstein are just iconic books the way other classics aren’t as much. Ohh, they’re perfect Halloween books as well. I may have to remember that for next year myself. 🙂
        I’m definitely intrigued, and hopefully one day I’ll be able to get around to this book as well.
        That’s all right! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Books, Vertigo and Tea says:

    It has been so many years since I read this one, but I struggled with parts of it. I think I did approach it expecting a terrifying monster tale only to receive more of a lesson in humanity 😉 But that is not without merit and your review here does this wonderful justice in my opinion. Maybe not a favorite, but certainly worth exploring.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Bookstooge says:

    “Personally, I vouch for men being born evil ”
    I’m with you on that.

    I enjoyed my time reading Frankenstein, but couldn’t even like the monster because of his turning towards evil and revenge. And there was really nobody else to cheer for either. However, reading it gave me a huge bit in my SF foundation, so that in and of itself was worth it…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lashaan (Bookidote) says:

      Oh, you should totally pick it up. It’s a very unique and special experience. 😀 Thank you so much for reading! Oh, I do enjoy sharing my thoughts a lot rather than being short and sweet like other bloggers out there hahaha Pictures and videos are the least I can do to make it a bit more easy for anyone to check out. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  10. theorangutanlibrarian says:

    Well I’m glad you took the dive, even if it wasn’t what you were expecting. Gotta admit, I love it for the flowery writing, but I also know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. I also love the concepts behind it, which of course aren’t totally original, what with her getting some of the ideas from the concept of the golem, but I love it anyway, because I think it’s so well done (and I actually love the fact that the monster was intelligent and spoke well, it wasn’t what I was expecting at all) Okay, gonna stop being so excitable now 😉 I can relate to what you’re saying about some books feeling like they’re just ticking off a list- I felt that way about Dracula- although part of that was cos that book ended up being *exactly* what I expected (I mean, I know Stoker invented the cliches- so I have to give him credit for it- but it somewhat dampened my experience) Anyway really thorough review!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lashaan (Bookidote) says:

      Yep! Honestly, I don’t usually mind that kind of writing and can definitely get behind it, but I think its because of all the details of the landscape that somehow didn’t do anything for me, topped off with Victor Frankenstein’s personality that wasn’t exactly what I thought he’d be either, that made it a bit harder for me to be mesmerized. The monster being so smart and being able to speed like this was definitely a shocker, and gave me a pretty fascinating look at his original character. I do prefer him like that over the one you get in the movie, but I guess the one in the movie was just too iconic in my head that it was harder to wrap my head around this version and his ability to speak so eloquently, and pretty much just like every character in the book, made him seem abnormal. Maybe I would’ve loved it more if we had this eloquence in the form of thoughts coming from the monster instead of an ability to speak so well, I would’ve had gave it more “credibility”/made him more believable.

      Dracula is definitely next on my list of classics to check out (maybe next Halloween). I’ll definitely keep a mental note about its cliches. I’m pretty curious to see how the story is told though. I’ve seen his story being adapted into so many cartoons and movies and what not that I’m not even sure anymore of the great count Dracula’s origin story anymore hahaha Thank you so much for reading though, I appreciate that!! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      • theorangutanlibrarian says:

        That makes a lot of sense actually. I’ve always understood why people don’t like it- to be honest there was a point when I wondered why I did, and blamed it on the fact I was really into Romantic poetry when I first read it, but I’ve read it since then and still love it… so I guess I have no excuse 😉 hehe yes, it’s totally different to how he is in the movie- in fact in every film version he’s portrayed as a bit of an idiot- which is the exact opposite of how he actually is. Hehe yes that’s true- I guess it was in the days before writers had to make their world building logical 😉
        Ooh I hope you enjoy it more!! You’re welcome!!

        Liked by 1 person

  11. Kat says:

    Ugh gosh I remember having to read this in high school. I totally agree with your comments about the themes; I think this story has an intriguing premise and the book explored and fleshed out its themes well. But the writing was SO BEYOND FLOWERY I could hardly take it. If you took out all the unnecessary descriptions I think the story would have been about 30 pages long! And I never could get over why the monster spoke even more eloquently than most 19th century authors wrote…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lashaan (Bookidote) says:

      Oh my God! Someone who basically knows exactly what I felt as I read this!!! 😮 You’re soooooo right about it being just 30 pages long if you cut out all the descriptions!!! And I swear… the way the monster spoke just completely changed my image of him and just couldn’t wrap my mind around it being associated to the cult monster known as Frankenstein by everyone! But ye… If anything, this classic definitely explores its themes in an intriguing way and should be read for that at least!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. bookworm says:

    This is one of my all-time favourite books. That said, I can totally see where you’re coming from with the flowery language! I find parts of it slow and a little irritating, but overall the story just has so much to offer. You say it’s not scary and you’re certainly right in the sense that the monster is not quite how a modern audience would imagine, but the concepts are what make this book so terrifying. It warns us of the dangers of playing God, of the consequences of tirelessly pushing for more knowledge and crossing scientific boundaries. It reminds us of our responsibilty to what, or who, we create and above all, reminds us that we are but humble men. Thank you for your great review and I look forward to reading more!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lashaan (Bookidote) says:

      Dear Bookworm, you definitely couldn’t have summed this up any better. The concept of horror that gravitates around this classic is definitely not the one that people would assume. It is horror on a much more devastating level, concentrated on the core mankind. I totally agree on everything you said and it is why I appreciated my run with this one. It was an excellent classic that is sure to surprise countless readers. Thank you so much for reading and for your kind words!

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Evelina @ AvalinahsBooks says:

    Would you believe that I’ve also not read this? Maybe I just should 🙂 also partly because of all the misconceptions we have about the monster, just like you say (I never knew he could talk?) I wonder why he was changed so much in the pop culture?

    However, I pretty much expected that this book would be more about the underlying questions of what it means to be dead or alive, or where it gets you playing with things bigger than you. So what you’re saying about delving into human nature makes me want to read it even more 🙂

    Nope, I haven’t seen the old movie! Guess that’s where the first misconceptions came from, huh 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lashaan (Bookidote) says:

      I was just like before the end of October too. 😉 It is a classic that is well-worth exploring, especially to find out what the real story is, to discover the writing style and to read all the themes the author explores. I have no clue why the classic Frankenstein movie was changed so much, but it definitely worked for the better though! 😀

      Like

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