Amy Reads Books

Frankenstein (Penguin Popular Classics)

Frankenstein or, The Modern Prometheus - Mary Shelley Frankenstein is a story that pretty much everyone is aware of. The term has entered our figures of speech and is frequently referenced to. Plus, it has been made into plays, musicals and films. Mary Shelley was just 19 when she came up with the tale of Victor Frankenstein, a young student who discovers how to create human life. However, his creation is not up to his standards and he leaves it to (hopefully) destroy itself. Yet the creature does no such thing, and eventually returns to confront Victor.It's not usual that I come to a book with a pretty solid understanding of exactly what happens. However, when I came to Frankenstein I had watched the dodgy BBC3 version and in particular had the Kenneth Branagh version firmly imprinted in my mind. Shelley did however still manage to keep up the tension throughout; even if I did know what event was being built up to. However, most interestingly to me was the fact that so much that is 'known' from Frankenstein-particularly the thunderstorm-IT'S-ALIVE moment-is not even mentioned in the novel, and thus has become a figment of the popular imagination.Shelley, the wife of the poet Percy Shelley and the daughter of early feminist Mary Wollstonecraft, also has a gorgeous gift for description. She vividly describes the Geneva area and then the rest of Europe when Victor and Clerval went on a visit to England. However, there were aspects of her writings that I didn't really enjoy; such as her dialogue also being a touch overly dramatic.Of course, the main point of the novel is Shelley's musings on the idea of human meddling with nature and as such I think sometimes the characters suffer. Elizabeth, Victor's love interest (his 'more-than' sister), is certainly a quite interesting female character-especially her speech to try and save Justine in the court room. However, Victor and the Creature seem respectively to be characters who stand and speak/think at length about the issues of creation. Shelley is pretty clear with her view on human meddling-don't do it-and also on human turning from God, which would be something rather brave to say at a time where science and reason were beginning to play more and more of a part in society.I found Frankenstein okay. It was a compelling story with some lovely language, but in general, I wanted a little more. It is, however, a remarkable tale in light of the increasing developments in science in the modern world, and a cautionary tale against man going too far.