Saturday, February 19, 2011

Book Review: Frankenstein

It's probably been over 20 years since the last time I read Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. I have to say that I am more astonished now than I was in my 20s that Shelley was just a teenager when she wrote this. A teenager!

I can't imagine anyone doesn't know the plot of Frankenstein, although usually people refer to the monster itself as Frankenstein. While a university student, Victor Frankenstein discovers how to make life by raiding the graveyard and making a man out of corpses. He is horrified by the creature he has built and abandons him. The creature, who starts as a dumb animal, manages to educate himself by spying on a family, and eventually he seeks revenge on Frankenstein.

This novel takes me back to my days as an English major in college, reading sweeping tales with poetic and often challenging language. Makes me ponder why I surrender so easily and regularly to today's novels, with predominately limited vocabulary. Are we that dumbed down?

I am going to be teaching Frankenstein for a British Lit class next year, so I'll be previewing movie versions too. I was disappointed to see that 1994 version is rated "R," as that one sounds like the most accurate rendering.


hopeinbrazil said...

I, too, was amazed that Shelley could have written such a book at her age. I was also surprised at how much I liked it since the movie versions had left me cold.

wayside wanderer said...

I really love this book and have taught it several times in a worldview class I used to teach. Have you read The Deadliest Monster? It would be a great resource for you teaching this. It compares the story of Frankenstein to Dr.Jekyll specifically looking at the nature of man. Good stuff!

Cindy Swanson said...

I've never read this one, but I have read Dean Koontz' wonderful Frankenstein series!

How interesting that you're going to be teaching this.

I just wanted to let you know that I posted a fun little book meme on my book blog. It doesn't take long to play along...hope you'll join!

Anonymous said...

Sarah, the Kenneth Branagh one is just awful, although some early scenes do capture the look and feel of the period nicely. It also preserves the whole Walton frame story, which is cool. But it takes a lot of liberties with plot, and you can definitely skip the scene where VF's mother dies in childbirth. And the one near the end where he waltzes around the attic with Elizabeth's corpse. But the scene where he actually creates the monster is neat, and captures the creation=birth and VF = neglectful father motifs nicely. Love KB in practically everything else he's done, but this is a dud.
Carrie C