Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

Mary Shelley
Wordsworth Classics edition
(Dover Publications, New York: 1994)

First published in 1816.

READ: February-March 2009

I've had this book for many years now, and had tried once or twice to read it with no success. This time, I did! You really have to be in the mood for some Victorian literature - it's wordy, with lots of big words. (Hey, I have 2 graduate degrees - I know a big word when I see one.) Plus, it's written in the "confessional" style, which is probably my least favourite writing style. And not only is it confessional in tone, it's purportedly written by Dr. Frankenstein, who hears all this from the monster himself. The monster had initially fled after Dr. Frankenstein expressed horror at the being he had just created. Over the course of many, many years, he apparently taught himself English by living in the shed of an unsuspecting family in Switzerland, listening to their conversations and watching their interactions, night after night. His English is impeccable! And very Victorian. Then there is a whole string of misunderstood events that lead to a fairly high body count, and a multi-country pursuit.

However, once I was able to suspend my disbelief and get past the fact that the monster spoke as if he'd fallen out of a novel, it was, in fact, a fairly enjoyable story. It is not a very long book, and the story has a good pace. By the end, you really do feel sorry for the monster.

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