There are so many books & films that are considered to be classics. One might even say that to count them all would be impossible. I like to believe that I am a huge geek and nerd by nature: which is the reason I’ve always had this strong desire to be this well-read, cultured person. If you’ve read my last life-update post, you know that I decided to act on this wish of mine and read and watch as many ‘classics’ as I can. And why not take you on this exciting journey with me?
Raise your glass! This is the first ever episode of Read the Classics with me. This one is all about Frankenstein by Mary Shelley.
Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus is a well-known novel by English authoress Mary Shelley. It was first published in the year 1818 which means this year is the 200-year anniversary of this wonderful book. (Fun fact: Shelley was only 18 when she started writing this book and it was first published anonymously when she was 20 years old.)
My expectations before reading it
To be honest, I didn’t know much about the book or the story other than that there is a scientist called Frankenstein who makes a monster. I knew it was supposed to be one of the most famous and important science fiction book ever written, and I was drawn to it because it is a book by a female author. I knew that the book was a warning to scientist and the progress they were making, however I wasn’t sure what to expect from the story itself.
I think it is safe to say that I didn’t have any idea what I was getting myself into.
The writing style & importance of nature
One of the things that struck me most about it when I first picked the book up was the writing style. Somehow Shelley managed to combine a very stark scientific approach with such vivid descriptions of nature that it was almost like reading poetry. I think I was expecting something more ‘adventurous’ in writing – you know, like when you read a really tense scene in The Hunger Games. The style of the book was definitely surprising, but I dare say it was a pleasant surprise indeed.
When reading this, be prepared for some detailed descriptions of the character’s surroundings, especially when they are outdoors in nature. I am not usually one to enjoy this, but Shelley does it really wonderfully and I think there is a point to it, too. It’s not just to give you unnecessary details that take up a lot of space – it’s to highlight the contrast between the beauty of nature and the danger and cruelty of science and mechanisation. Life and what it means is a very important topic of the book and the nature description fit in nicely.
The story itself & narratives in narratives
When I started reading the book, I was surprised. The first part is all in letters which are not even written by Frankenstein himself. I wasn’t sure what was happening, but it sure made me really curious to see how this is going to develop. I was drawn in from the first few pages.
The book reminded me a little bit of The Black Spider by Jeremias Gotthelf as there were a lot of narratives in narratives. The present is described in above mentioned letters, the past is then told by Victor Frankenstein with some parts also told by the monster. I really enjoyed this complex structure of the book; my favourite part was probably the story told by the monster – I couldn’t put the book down.
My thoughts after reading it
I loved it! Even though it took me kind of long to finish it, I completely enjoyed it and would definitely recommended it to all of you. I can say with confidence that this book does deserve to be considered a classic. It has a strong message and leaves you wondering about the right and wrong, if the monster was really so monstrous and whether Victor’s actions were justifiable or not.
My rating: 8/10
Let me know in the comments if you’ve read this book or if you are planning to do so. Additionally, if you have any suggestions for me about what I should read next, I’d really like to hear them!
Have a lovely day.