About the Author:
Mary Shelley was born in 1797 and, at the age of sixteen, eloped with poet Percy Bysshe Shelley. Mary and Percy joined Lord Byron and Doctor John Polidori at the Villa Diodati on Lake Geneva in 1816, where Byron charged those present with writing a ghost story. Mary's contribution would go on to become 'Frankenstein', published anonymously in 1818. It wasn't until a revised edition was published in 1831 that Mary was finally acknowledged as the author of one of the most influencial novels of the 19th Century.
AVERAGE REVIEW SCORE:
5 out of 5
It is a great tragedy when Hollywood, merchandising and pop-culture conspire to destroy a piece of classic literature and such is the case with 'Frankenstein'. Too many people will only ever know the square-headed monster with bolts through its neck and never understand the true nature of Frankenstein's monster.
The story should be familiar to you; the brilliant young Victor Frankenstein creates life but is then haunted by the creature he has made. Ultimately this book is about two men unable to control their passions. Victor's passion for science is what causes him to create 'the wretch' (monster is not nearly accurate) and his self-loathing and anger at his creation is what leads to his destruction. By the same token, the wretch is driven by lonely anger and his belief that his woes are Victor's deliberate construction. The tragedy of the story is that both men have a core of goodness about them but whenever it seems as though a happy ending is in sight, distrust and passion sees the feud take over once more.
The wretch's tale is truly saddening as reaction to his monstrous appearance wounds him so deeply that he lashes out, feeling that he has no option but to become the monster others fear him to be. Overall I felt that Shelley is trying to convey the dangers of man, being an imperfect being and subject to irrational passions, dabbling in the works of God (hence the subtitle 'The Modern Prometheus' - Prometheus being he who stole fire from the gods in Greek myth), a message that is every bit as poignant today as it was then, if not more so.
This book has only two real flaws, both being common to 19th century literature. The first is Shelley's tendency towards being unnecesarily elaborate in her prose and the second is that, like much of the literature of that period, the book is incredibly depressing.
5 out of 5