Review of Frankenstein, Mary Shelley

Who has not heard of Frankenstein? There are hundreds of books, movies, games… but everything had an origin: the work of Mary Shelley, “Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus”, published in 1818.

A fact that seems incredible to me is that Mary Shelley was only 18 when she wrote this book. It is true that the young people of the early nineteenth century were not as they are today. Already at that time, with 18 years they married, had family, and worked, so perhaps with that age at the time you could already have achieved a certain maturity, enough to write a book of these characteristics, challenging philosophy, life and destiny. In addition, of course, there were neither cell phones, nor phones themselves, nor television, nor even radio … so it was read a lot more than these days, as well. This was also Mary Shelley’s first book, also surprising. Others followed, of course, but they never achieved the fame of her prime work.

Something that surprised me is that the story does not take place in the Frankenstein Castle, located in the Hessen region, in Germany. I say this, because living nearby, in Frankfurt, the castle is quite famous. Halloween parties are held every year; in case you are interested. People dress up, there is food, music… some good fun. The main story takes place, mostly, in Switzerland, where Frankenstein’s family lives, although the story moves to other several European countries: Germany, Scotland, England, Ireland, the Nordic countries, etc.

My surprise was very pleasant when reading the book. I expected phrases like «Everyone thought I was crazy, they thought I could never give life to dead meat, but they were wrong!» Or the famous «IT’S ALIVE!» And as much as I looked for that, I didn’t find the infamous assistant Igor anywhere. The book has nothing to do with that story we thought we knew about Frankenstein. Nor is the lightning scene bringing the monster to life there either. Not even the creature’s fear of fire. In short, almost nothing I thought I knew about this story was reflected in this story.

Talking about spoilers almost 200 years after the book was published seems a bit silly, but, nevertheless, I don’t want to tell you more than necessary, just enough to make you want to read the work yourself.

The creation of the monster is a most academic process, and the drama revolves at first in the pain of Victor Frankenstein, who is never referred to as «Dr. Frankenstein.» The monster is a soul in sorrow and suffers from being alone in the world. Fate makes them enemies, Frankenstein and his creation, and just like Harry Potter and Voldemort, «one of the two must die at the hands of the other, for neither can live as long as the other is alive.» We know that from the moment the creature is born.

Final comment: the book has surprised me greatly, moving away from the standard version that exists of Victor Frankenstein and his beast, that we all know. I think it is worth reading the book to know the origin of this creature that, in addition, contains very interesting and entertaining dialogues, despite the fact that sometimes they are too much from that epoch. I liked the Shakespearean kind-of monologues the creature recited too, which made him human as well. He was probably created from dead parts, and was ugly, but he had a soul of his own.

Book quote:Accursed creator! Why did you form a monster so hideous that even you turned from me in disgust? God, in pity, made man beautiful and alluring, after his own image; but my form is a filthy type of yours, more horrid even from the very resemblance. Satan had his companions, fellow devils, to admire and encourage him, but I am solitary and abhorred.’

Keep on reading,

GG Klimt

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