Frankenstein: A Penguin Enriched eBook Classic
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"Mary Shelley's timeless gothic novel presents the epic battle between man and monster at its greatest literary pitch. In trying to create life, the young student Victor Frankenstein unleashes forces beyond his control, setting into motion a long and tragic chain of events that brings Victor to the very brink of madness. How he tries to destroy his creation, as it destroys everything Victor loves, is a powerful story of love, friendship, scientific hubris, and horror.

Penguin Enriched eBook Classics Features: How to Navigate Guide, How to Read Frankenstein, Appendix IV: from Plato's Symposium, Frankenstein Chronology, Nineteenth-Century Reviews of Frankenstein, Frankenstein Filmography, Further Reading, Illustrations: Mary Shelley, Her Circle, Her Environs, and Images of Frankenstein (1831-1910), Enriched eBook Notes"

Customer Reviews:

  • Frankenstein is timeless.
    For those who only think of movie images when they recall Frankenstein, this book will serve as a pleasant and refreshing experience. The gothic undertones lend authenticity to this beautiful story. When I first began to read this book, I was expecting horror and terrifying elements that may have inspired authors like Stephen King. However, I was amazed at just how beautifully deep and inspiring the book actually was.

    There is no need for me to rehash the plot because others who have reviewed have done this, but they failed to mention just how many levels there are to this book. The whole story is based on relationships; those between creator and creature, man and nature, science and morality, familial relationships, etc. It is full of concepts such as existentialism, religion, philosophy, family, society (and the shallow, narrow-mindedness of society), and so on. For such a short work, it really covers a large range of human experience.

    This is probably my favorite book. It left me feeling hopeful and inspired and I recommend it to just about anyone....more info
  • Incredible forsight of things to come
    What makes Mary Shelley's novel Frankenstein most amazing isn't the intensity of the narrative, the breadth of the science (for the early 18th century) or the fullness of her characters, for this book has all of those elements. However, Shelley's understanding that the creation of a "spiritual" (read: with a soul) being without thought to its emotional or spiritual needs is possibly one of the most inhumane acts a human can make. In the case of this story, it is Dr. Frankenstein (surely not the crazy mad scientist portrayed in the movies) whose sole passion of creating life engulfs him in a mission that turns first to horror and eventually dread and utter despair.

    But this book really is not about Dr. Frankenstein, but the monster he creates. A monster created with a blank slate. One that could have easily been motivated by virtue rather than evil had his creator (or any other number of people) not ignored his basic spiritual needs of love and kindness. Once this monster understands that love cannot be given to him by humans, he makes one last plea to his creator to make another creature like him, so that he will have someone to love.

    Frankenstien's decision on whether to create a second monster and eventual unwillingness to consent to the request is the second point of concern for the novel. Could Dr. Frankenstein have averted the disaster that was to come? Would he have prevented personal disaster at the expense of a curse on humanity? These questions the reader is left to ponder, making this one of the greatest novels ever written.

    The book would not be considered "horror" in the 21st century with our special effects abilities to create gore and disgust. It would be put more into the category of psychological thriller ala the movie "Seven" where the details of the actual acts are left to your imagination and the reasons behind the acts are explored more in depth.
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  • Frankenstein is a chilling and tragic story of a monster and his maker who destroy one another
    Frankenstein conjures us lurid images of Boris Karloff in the best Hollywood version of the tale, However, the classic novel by Mary Shelley
    (1797-1851) is better than any movie version! She composed it while on holiday near Lake Geneva. She, her Romantic poet husband Percy Bysshe and their friend Lord George Byron challenged one another to compose a horror story. Mary's dream of 1818 became the novel we now know as Frankenstein.
    it tells the story of scientific genius Victor Frankenstein and the unnamed man he creates using galvanism and electricity in a horrible corpse. The creature becomes a murderer escaping from Victor. The creature murders Victor's wife, best friend, brother. Victor begins a quest to destroy his own creation but die in mortal combat with the horror in the icy wastes of the barren North Pole.
    Victor had earlier refused his creatioin's desire for the scientist to conjure up a Mrs. Frankenstein. Victor worried that the two monsters would create a race of horrible creatures who would wage war on humanity.
    The beginning and ending of the novel are written in an epistolary correspondence carried on by sea captain Walton and his sister back home in England. They narrate the strange and sad tale. Though almost 200 years old the prose is quite readable. The Penguin edition footnotes add insight to the novel.
    Mary's subtitle was "The Modern Prometheus." Prometheus was the Greek god who stole fire from the gods giving it to mankind. As a punishment the gods imprisoned him to a rock. Prometheus (Frankenstein) may represent modern industrial society, rebellion or chaotic forces unleashed my humanity. One thinks of the Frankenstein-like atomic bomb era precipitating the Cold.
    Mary Shelley was well read and drew upon her expertise in gothic horror, ghost story and adventure tales to complete her little gem of a classic. Her book is well written, thought provoking and deeply disturbing. It is a parable of the modern age of angst, fear and chaos we all inhabit each day on our conflicted globe....more info
  • The Most Moving Monster Story
    I was lucky enough to be assigned this book in my Modern Europe class. It's a quick read, moving along at a nice pace, but not jam-packed with too much action. Instead, this horror novel is one that reaches the reader on a deeper level. Victor takes an emotional journey, from the happiness and security of his childhood, to his fevered and single-minded pursuit of the creation of life, to the horror and despair at the realization of what his dream will cost him. He is the consummate Romantic hero: tragic, boldly and blindly following his own ambition, and agonizing over the loss of his own soul.

    There was really only one thing that bothered me about this book. One is the fact that every time something tragic happens to Victor, he falls into a debilitating fever. I know that this sort of illness was a favorite of the Romantics, but after a while, it seemed formulaic. Other than that, the book is nearly perfect: tragic hero, sympathetic yet terrifying villain, beautiful and innocent heroine, and a landscape that is just as important to the story as Victor and his monster are. I would recommend this book to any fan of contemporary horror fiction, and also to any fan of Romantic fiction or poetry. Also, if you're going to watch one of the many film adaptations of this book, I suggest watching Kenneth Branagh's 1994 version, Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. Robert De Niro plays the monster, and you can't get any better than that. Besides, it's the one movie that stays almost completely true to Mary Shelley's original story....more info
  • Not what I remembered... turns out there are 2 versions
    Short Summary: Victor Frankenstein is young, intelligent, and quite full of himself. He discovers through his studies the methods of creating life, and does so. The creature he creates is of enormous size and strength and is hideous to behold. Terrified of what he has made, he flees, leaving the creature to fend for itself.

    I just finished re-reading this book, it has been over 10 years since I read it the last time. My memory of the book was a tremendous feeling of sadness and compassion for the creature that Frankenstein created. In this re-reading I was shocked at the change in my feelings toward the characters. Though everything seemed the same it evoked an entirely different set of emotions in me. After doing a bit of poking about the internet I discovered that there are two versions of the story that Shelley wrote, one the first one, which is the one I just read, is much harsher, the creature is much less amiable, and Victor is much less forgivable. The second version she wrote, which I understand was written about 10-15 years later, evokes more sympathy for Victor and his creation.

    Both are almost identical, starting with the gentleman on the ship in the Northern Ice who meets Victor. Victor relates his tale to the young seamen, this tale often becomes a tale within a tale within a tale as we shift points of view, always related to the young sailor through the stories of Victor. As I read this book I found myself thinking that this may be one of the few books that manages to encompass all 5 versions of Conflict, Man vs Man, Man vs Self, Man vs Nature, and Man vs God. Shelley's prose can at times be difficult, not to read, but to focus on because of the style and time frame it was written in. It is very easy to find yourself skimming, which you do not want to do.

    The story is one of love and loss, creation and our relationship with our creator, the faults of man attempting to become God, and the cruelty that lies with our society to that which we perceive as ugly, frightening or hideous. When Victory abandons the monster he leaves him to learn of the cruelty of our society and to react to it as inappropriately as he does. This tale is NOT what you watched on TV, it is not found in the movie you watched. This is a story that can only be found in this book.

    Did I love it? Not really, in the version I just read, Victor is a whiner, who considers himself a genius though he stands aside while his family and friends are killed. The monster, though more understandable, is also a contemptible character as he murders one after the other with little to no remorse. Yes it is well written and filled with interesting comparisons, warnings, and meaning... but as for a fun filled entertaining read, the characters were a bit to whiny and non-committal for me to really have anyone to root for. Still, they were full characters, completely rounded and interesting even though they were pathetic. The story is so filled with meaning that you could discuss it for days. And the concept of the feminine in this book is very interesting to read... I recommend this book, but I won't say that it ranks above Dracula in my mind. ...more info
  • "Frankenstein"
    I started reading "Frankenstein" because I needed a book to read for school. I didn't know much about it except for what's in the various movie versions. It turned out to be a very dark, depressing, sad story about man with many problems, and a misunderstood outcast. When you watch the movie "Frankenstein", the monster that Frankenstein created was made out to be evil. This is not necessarily true in the book, however. In the book, you hear more of this outcast's story, as well as more of Frankenstein's story. In reading the book, you find out that the creature Victor Frankenstein created wasn't at all what the various movies presented him as. In most of the movies, the creature was presented as this illiterate, bumbling, stupid, ragefull, evil killer, but in truth, he was a kind, gentle, loving, smart creature. You also learn more about Victor's family, past, schooling, etc.

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. It was depressing, yet insightful. It was deep as well as enlightening. I also like how the book was set up. It was made up in letters from a man to his sister. The man was captain of a ship, and he found Frankenstein dying in the ocean. The man took Victor onto his ship, and Victor told the man his story. The book is Victor's story, written down by the man in a letter to his sister. I liked this book because of what I said as well as it giving me a new view on the story, because you see, all I had known of this story before was what was said in the movies. Now that I have read the book, the movies anger me. The movies anger me because they take the book out of context. They turn a wonderful, yet depressing, tale of a man and a creature into a story about a stupid killer of a creature and a crazy doctor.

    All in all, this is a fantastic book that I recommend to anyone in high school or older. It is depressing, in some ways unrealistic, in some ways very realistic, but it's still worth reading. I gave it four stars. Definitely a very entertaining and interesting book.
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  • Don't Play God.
    In the spirit of Halloween, I've sought out a piece of famous literature to review: Frankenstein.

    It starts off with Captain Robert Walton's expedition through the icy waters of the north. Lonely, unschooled and with an awkward affinity for men, Walton haplessly finds Victor Frankenstein near death on the tundra. He takes him aboard ship, EAGERLY befriends him and nurses him to health like Florence Nightengale. Frankenstein then takes over the story as he tells Walton all about how he came so close to dying as he pursued a "monster" over the freezing plains.

    Victor is a major outcast, antisocial and withdrawn. Though difficult to get close to, he does latch clingingly to those who manage to connect with him. He finds success as a student at the University of Ingostadt. There, author Mary Shelley lets us know in the vaguest way possible that, Victor discovers the "secret of life." He develops a God complex and vows to create a new race of beings who will worship him. His only successful subject, patched together from dead body parts, is "The Monster." Victor immediately abhors this wretch and casts him out, realizing that this was a really bad idea to begin with.

    Just when Frankenstein thinks he can just go on his merry way and live life like nothing ever happened, news reaches him of his little brother having been killed. When Victor returns home for the funeral, the monster seeks him out and takes over the story, eloquently spinning a dreadful yarn about loss and abandonment. The Monster is not happy at all with Victor, his god, creator, master, who sent him away out of disgust at his physical form. The Monster is expressed as being 8 feet tall, disfigured in the face and able to move at superhuman speed. None of this reminds me of Boris Karloff, making the novel a stranger story than the movies.

    The Monster reveals to Victor that he did kill his brother, that he learned to speak and read no thanks to him and that his benevolent nature had been twisted into something cruel and terrible thanks to society's intolerance for people who look differently. Pissed off at having to live life in hiding, the Monster says that he will kill everyone Victor loves unless his "god" does this for him:

    make him a mate - someone as gruesome as he is, to live happily with, refusing the rest of the world in peace.

    All three voices - Walton's, Frankenstein's and the Monster's are well done but Shelley doesn't step into the male role very well at all. Some of the dialogue between seemingly heterosexual men could come right out of a novel with Fabio splashed on the cover. But I felt sorry for the Monster and I think Frankenstein was a jerk and had it coming. I'm still very awed at how different the novel is from the movies, which were apparently adapted from the stage plays. I think I better appreciate the novel, an instant success upon publication.
    ...more info
  • Blinded me with science.
    Too many "Monster Mash" ditties and cheap movie treatments ("Young Frankenstein") have made us forget this story's deep pathos and overwhelming sadness. Rewind to Mary Shelley's original. "Frankenstein" is about recklessness, man's inhumanity to man, and the potential idolatry of science.
    The creature's desire for friendship mirrors Dr. Victor Frankenstein's desire to confide his secret to someone "normal."
    Our author, the wife of English Romantic poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, wrote "Frankenstein" when she was only 19 years old. Her story construction shows a remarkable sensibility that we'd find, if at all, in people much older. Some examples:
    Her choice of name for Victor's university instructor -- Professor Waldman. He encourages Victor's medical research to better diagnose and treat disease. Waldman represents the "wall" of ethical norms that no person, no matter how talented or well meaning, should go beyond. To do otherwise, a person may well lose himself and all he holds dear. Victor charges past the wall with disastrous results.
    Ambiguities of time and setting increases the story's power. Victor Frankenstein's faith tradition is left undetailed. Frankenstein sounds Jewish yet Victor and his family seem part of Geneva's gentile establishment. Perhaps VF is Roman Catholic and retains that religion's unhealthy fascination with the dead (with its disturbing statues of nailed-up Jesus and the habit of praying to deceased "saints"). Odd yet welcome that these people are in the vanguard of today's pro-life movement.
    It shouldn't escape notice that Geneva, while an international city at Europe's crossroads, was also home to John Calvin's experiment in Reform Protestant theocracy. So is Victor a Jew, a Catholic, or a Presbyterian? We aren't told and that's crucial. Shelley is showing us that spiritual blindness is an equal-opportunity malady.
    Negative reactions to the creature give us a glimpse of the violence lurking just below the surface of "civilized" society. Shelley's story is a signpost for how the manufactured men of advanced biology and other minorities-cum-servants come to be treated in a violent society. For prologue, see Alex Haley's "Roots." For meditations on the future, view the movie "Blade Runner." For contemporary applications, consider the debates over cloning and stem-cell research against a backdrop of a country where boxing, professional wrestling, the International Fighting League, and fisticuffs in hockey are taken to be normal instead of the abominations they truly are.
    The only weakness in "Frankenstein" is the creature's ability to speak. It's not clear how he received this power. The Vilna Gaon once told his most accomplished student, Rabbi Chaim Volozhiner, that it's not especially difficult to create a man if a person truly understands a book known as the Sefer Yetzirah. The creation is known as a golem. A golem can do everything a normal man can do including reason, the Gaon told Rav Chaim, the exception being the ability to talk. The speaking spirit that G-d gave Adam and subsequent members of the human race can only be bestowed by G-d.
    "Frankenstein" would have been even more terrifying and moving had Shelley withheld the power of speech (and some better movie treatments have handled it this way). Victor finding the creature's thoughts in a journal after his reign of terror would have been more poignant. Guess we can't blame our British Protestant author for not knowing Jewish tales involving golems.
    It's possible for Jews to become Frankensteins -- consider what Dr. Bernard Nathanson did to the unborn, including his own offspring, in the name of "women's rights" and "reproductive freedom" (read BN's "Aborting America") before his soul reawakened. Yet if Victor Frankenstein is Jewish he lacks the key ingredients in being an Israelite -- compassion and acceptance of responsibility.
    Failure to accept responsibility is what got the early fathers of mankind cursed (see the Book of Genesis for how G-d reacts when Adam tries to put off his sin on Eve and when Cain questions whether he needs to concerned about the whereabouts of murdered brother Abel). Noah moved the ball somewhat but only took responsibility for his own family. Our father Abraham, history's first prophet, was the pioneer in taking compassion and responsibility outside one's own tent, making converts and doing kindness to strangers. This set the pattern for Abraham's descendants and the spirit would manifest itself powerfully in his great-grandchildren Joseph and Judah, the sons of Israel.
    Notice in Genesis how the story of Judah taking responsibility for his children with Tamar (even embarrassing himself publicly in doing so) comes amid Joseph beginning a journey that will include stewardship of Egypt and a grand act of forgiveness. The Torah is showing us that the new ethic is blooming on two tracks destined to become one.
    The culmination comes when Joseph publicly tests Judah over the matters of their father (Jacob/Israel) and brother Benjamin. Judah demonstrates that his repentance and acceptance of responsibility are complete and immovable. Joseph's reservations melt and the brothers are tearfully reunited. Epilogue: Judah became the largest of the Israelite tribes and eventually become the identity for the entire holy nation -- all Israelites today are known as Yehudim, "Jews," (Yehudah being the Hebrew equivalent of Judah). It became halacha (Jewish law) that all Jews are responsible for one another. And Joseph was given an extra portion of inheritance by Jacob mainly for his (Joseph's) ability to avoid the desire for revenge, something that consumed the main characters in "Frankenstein." Israel must eventually forgive its/our brothers, the nations of the world, for the final redemption to occur.
    It's a pity Dr. Frankenstein didn't know the personal prayer of Rabbi Yehudah HaNassi (Judah "The Prince"), someone who knew a good bit about taking responsibility. Rabbi Yehudah, thanks to the good grace and cooperation of Edomite/Roman cousin Emperor Antoninus, was able to compile the Mishnah, ensuring Judaism's oral law would not be forgotten.
    Rabbeinu HaKadosh's daily prayer is found in the Babylonian Talmud (Berachos 16B) --
    "May it be Your Will, Hashem, my G-d, and the G-d of my forefathers, that You rescue me today and every day from brazen men and from brazenness, from an evil man, an evil companion, an evil neighbor, an evil mishap, the destructive spiritual impediment..."
    A few words from our author's husband in the heart of Victor Frankenstein may have saved the doctor and his creation from fates worse than death --
    "The winds of Heaven mix forever
    With a sweet emotion
    Nothing in the world is single
    All things by a law divine
    In one spirit meet and mingle.
    Why not I with thine?"
    (P.B. Shelley, "Love's Philosophy")

    ...more info
  • That's one smoooooth-talkin' zombie...
    Maybe the most surprising thing about reading Mary Shelley's *Frankenstein* is in discovering just how different--and how much more complex--the original is than the story as it has passed into popular culture. Here is one of the great myths of modern man and the Age of Science and Reason; it's a myth that in some respects is even more relevant today with the prospect of widespread genetic engineering. The dream of unlocking the secret of life--and the parallel fear that it might turn into a nightmare remains with us long after Shelley gave it form in this short novel.

    On the downside, Shelley's prose bears all the faults of the age in which it was composed. *Frankenstein* is almost unbearably overwritten, its characters melodramatically overwrought, and the whole production bathed in the over-the-top hysteria that often typifies Romantic literature. It's comical to hear long eloquent orations delivered by characters in the middle of scenes in which they're literally fighting for their lives--and, indeed, even more ridiculous to hear the monster himself speaking like a Shakespearean actor. To be sure, Shelley's monster is a great deal different than the green-skinned blockhead of the movies, no bolts in his neck, jagged forehead scar, or monosyllabic groans here. This is a pensive, autodidactic monster. Still, the way Shelley envisions him, he's actually far more horrific than Boris Karloff or Herman Munster. Here we have a stitched together assemblage of corpse-parts that the flesh doesn't always entirely cover, leaving the workings of tendons and the like grotesquely exposed to view. He's a wild, ragged, hideous-looking zombie, but not a shambling, sleepwalking, unfeeling drone; instead, he's super-strong, super-agile, super-fast--and he's as eloquent as Cicero.

    Certainly, Shelley felt it necessary to give the monster a brain and the silver-tongue to express its complex cogitations because *Frankenstein* is, in the end, more a philosophical novel than a tale of horror. What does it mean to be human? Do we overstep our bounds by encroaching on the miracles of life and try to play "god"? Is there a god? Do we not feel pity for the "monster," which, by its appearance alone, seems to be the embodiment of all we loathe and fear...and yet, in fact, only wants for compassion and companionship to make it "human"? These are the kinds of questions that Shelley asks in *Frankenstein* and to do so she allows her monster to defend himself in the court of ideas like F. Lee Bailey.

    For that matter, it's somewhat hard to wrap one's mind around the fact that Shelley's Victor Frankenstein begins his work at reanimating corpses while still at college and--instead of the more appropriate middle-aged scientist familiar from innumerable remakes--Dr. Frankenstein in this novel is no older than his mid-20s throughout. Apparently, Shelley herself wasn't yet twenty when originally composing the tale, so that perhaps explains Frankenstein's age here, but it doesn't seem quite right to have him be so young.

    Still, if you can get past the various absurdities, the purple prose, the frequent repetition, and the more tedious travelogue descriptions of the countrysides of Switzerland, Scotland, the frozen north, etc. there are some genuinely frightening scenes and, more importantly, still-compelling ideas that make Shelley's *Frankenstein* not only the original, but the best elucidation of the myth of the mad man of science and the responsibility of the creator towards ((and for)) that which he creates. If for only the sheer importance and enduring influence of this work in literature and popular culture, Shelley's *Frankenstein* is worth reading, and giving four stars.

    ...more info
  • Poetic, tragic, compelling...
    This is a true piece of literary art that has been taken for granted. Inundated with images of Boris Karloff and others in green paint has made many people think they know the story of Frankenstein, but few really do. This is the story. It is one of the most chilling tales ever told, but also one of great contrast. There is tenderness, love, longing, tragedy, despair, loss, terror, hate, and a multitude of other themes coursing through the veins of this living work. If you have never had the pleasure, do yourself a favor and read this novel. ...more info
  • Frankenstein one of the best works ever written
    Mary shelley's frankenstein, the famous novel by her, probably her best work despite her turbelous and personal history (she had a child out of wedlock and her relationships didnt last). the book was made into a slew of hollywood remakes from the earl 1930's version with boris karloff to the more modern one with kenneth brannagh (which is closer to the novel that previous movies).

    This is one amazing novel, it literally impacted many writers both male and female to come. even more amazing is that shelley was only 18yrs old when she wrote this novel. she truly was gifted and "frankenstein" despite it being one of her few great works still cemented for shelley as a great writer.

    I've been asked why i love this book and it's quite simple, shelley's takes an obscure plot, a man , victor frankenstein, a scientist using a dead cadaver to create life and bettering mankind creates a monster that terrorizes mankind. shelley thus takes this simple plot , and turns into a complex story with many different twists. beyond that, she uses this story to address some serious issues, all of which i will cover in this review: women's right, prejudice against those who are different from the rest of us, the battle of good vs. evil and of course do we have the right to sacrifice lives like Frankenstein does in the name of science?

    Shelley was ahead of the times she addressed many key issues that we have discussed even to to this day, so in effect I love her works because she was a visionary and to some extent almost a psychic predicting certain trends that would impact society as a whole for many years to come.:

    If you watched the old Universal 1930's version with Karloff you think you know what the book is about. Dr. Frankenstein creates a monster because he is mad and wants to rule the world. The monster is hideous and ugly and wants to kill everything. He does meets a blind man who seems to recognize the monster and little girl whom the monster kills after the girl scream. Everyone dies at the end. That's it.

    No that's not it, in fact it's hard to put in one paragraph why "Frankenstein" has become the timeless classic. In a couple of sentences, the novel brings many social messages into view and makes the audience through the character ponder these questions. By the end of the novel, some questions get answered, however some don't. Shelley leaves many parts of the novel open for interpretation (like Shakespeare did with his plays) so people could come with their own views

    The novel showcases the fight of "good vs. evil". But who is exactly evil, the intelligent but evil and unmoral Dr. Frankenstein or the hideous monster who has been scorned by society for his looks (like the Elephant Man).

    The novel showcases the question of "creation", more specifically "the creation and ending of life". Does Dr. Frankenstein have the right to do what he does with body parts in creating this being? Is Frankenstein's intention to create a serious of super beings to rule the world?
    Why doesn't Frankenstein come forward for being the one responsible for the monster, when several murders including his family members get murdered by the hands of the monster?
    As you can see Shelley's poses us with some serious questions some of which impact us as a society, questioning our morals? I loved this because questioning our morals nowadays seems to be at the bottom of our priorities (See Iraqi prison scandal).

    Some of the intriguing questions directed at us as potential scientists if we have the right to some extent go against God and create our own race of beings in our image? Who really is the monster here. Us or the monster?...more info

  • Literary Masterpiece
    This novel is probably one of the top twenty of all time for the grace of the writing, the vividness of the monster and the plot development. I think I read a reviewer write that you should watch the movie instead of reading this book, or as a supplement to a movie. That is a horrendous statement because Frankenstein has just about everything that a book has to offer. This would basically be like telling people to never read anything but poorly written instruction manuals.

    First of all I love the way that Dr. Frankenstein is developed. He is known to the author first as a dedicated learner, and we all know that man, but then he is known as a person that knows a woman, since his story also tells us about her. So his character is already defined psychologically (and what other way could there be in a book because physical description of people only go so far in a book) in terms of a woman and his creation Frankenstein. It makes me want to scribble some love notes on Mary Shelley's grave.

    Frankenstein himself is another extremely well defined character, and the whole story breathes life into him. It is pure beauty, since he is not defined in terms of some properties alone, but what dominates is what the others have seen, and that's what he becomes. The shading of characters, and the unwinding stack of letters, and the sequence of events make this book pure candy for the soul.

    If this book were a three-star book why would Frankenstein be a household name so many years later? Also just for the sake of it, this book is not so reproducible as the Dracula story which abounds in bookstores today like no other myth. Frankenstein is more of a psychological character made by the entirety of the novel and whole, described mostly just as "hideous", whereas Dracula is defined by others in terms of all sorts of cool properties. Modern vampire books make him out as like some sort of mr. potatohead. Frankenstein is the more tragic villain I would say, and more simply defined villain. Dracula is kind of a hysterical villain, with his lusts and pluggable physical properties that accomodate his lusts for darkness with his lists of charms and aversions. In fact many others want to be Dracula, and there is envy of Dracula, but Frankenstein is categorically repulsed as an abomination, and as a creation not of god, but he was born in the book, whereas Dracula has unexplained and freakish dispositions. It's interesting now though that Frankenstein should grow in cultural relevance in relation to Dracula who was born out of slavic legends I think, with all of science's creations, but the Dracula franchise sells more for some reason. Perhaps it's a more optimistic view of the future, an evolved human with cool sunglasses, sexually rapacious appetites and gadgets, rather than an abomination of scientific creation....more info
  • i'm not sure
    just about everyone has heard the story of Frankenstein, so i'm going to skip that part of the review and go right on to "what is this story about".

    well, as far as i can tell it appears to be about a woman, who leaves the security-and watchful eyes- of friends and family, gets pregnant, has a child, then spends the rest of the book covering up while the child finds out just what it is like to be a bastard in the early 1800's. with no friends, family, connections, or money the child has no hope of a future and decides to take revenge on its creator.

    why do i think Frankenstein is a woman? having read quite a few gothic novels, i can say that victor is not a masculine character, he is a feminine one. he does not do guy things like shooting, hunting, hanging out with the guys riding horses. he spends his time at home with the ladies doing girl things.

    his decent into moral wrong is simple, he reads trashy novels that gives him ideas, when he is away from friends and family he has the opportunity to experiment with these dark ideas, with no one to check him he sinks deeper and deeper in to depravity until finally he creates a fully fledged monster and the sight of which suddenly causes him to realize all the terrible things that he has done, and no one must know about.

    now take this and turn it into a female's way. SHE reads trashy novels, SHE is away from friends and family and has the opportunity to experiment with these ideas, with no one to check her SHE sinks deeper and deeper into depravity until she gives birth at which time she realizes all the terrible things that she has done, and no one must know about.

    the most telling feminine thing victor does is just after he creates the monster. he faints and is sick for 3 months. a woman being sick for 3 month used to be indicative of bed fever. a person cant get bed fever without having a baby first. ...more info
  • Great!
    This book was way ahead of its time when written. It is more about prejudice and not liking people because they look different, than a monster story. The "monster" created by Frankenstein is actually a very complex character with deep thoughts about philosophy and life in general. He strives for the acceptance of his creator who virtually abandons him. The book has virtually no similarity to the movie later produced with Boris Karloff.

    The only problem I have with the book is that Shelly never tells you how the monster is created (unlike the "it's alive" scene with lightening and electrodes that made up the movie). A true classic that will never get old....more info

  • A Work of Genius, Except for Chapter 14....
    Chapter 14 should have been cauterized. There you are, engrossed in the monster's struggle for love, acceptance, and identity, and then Shelly stitches on an extra appendage--kinda like Victor Frankenstein sewing a hand or foot onto the monster's back--a convoluted back story of how Felix, one of the cottagers, saves and elopes with Safie, a Turkish-Arabian love interest. Chapter 14 does absolutely nothing for the story, save provide a means for the creature's learning to speak and read. (In one movie version, Branagh's, the cottagers are simply teaching their own children to read and write, which further strikes at the core of the monster's suffering. I disliked the movie, though.) Chapter 14, I can't stand it! It could have and should have been reworked, but it wasn't. Still, this is one of the greatest explorations of what Jung called "The Shadow." ...more info
  • classic in every sense of the word
    Though it must surely be impossible to choose the greatest horror story ever written, "Frankenstein", along with Bram Stoker's "Dracula", is certainly near the top of the list. There is so much to enjoy in this book, including some incrdibly tender and poignant excerpts regarding the death of a loved one. I need not say more-if you like horror, or are looking for a great female author, you should already have read this....more info
  • A chilling story...
    Frankenstein is a name that is common to most people today, but few people know the actual Frankenstein story. Mary Shelley's dark horror story is about a promising young man who decided that he had to discover how to create life. When he finally unlocked the secret to doing this, he constructed a body to spark with life. The moment he made his creation come alive, though, he was consumed with horror and remorse, and ran in shame. His creation ran, and lived in the woods for months, where he began to learn things. The monster discovered a family living on a poor farm and hid in an unused portion of their home for yet another few months, learning how to talk from them by watching. Finally, he worked up his courage to confront them, but it turned to disaster and he was sent running. From here his hatred for man grew, and he murdered an innocent boy whom he found out was related to his creator. Dr. Frankenstein found the monster, confronted him, and agreed to make him a companion so that the monster would have some one to confide in. The doctor destroyed the body right before he finished though, and his monster killed all his friends and family. Frankenstein chases the monster until he cannot anymore, and the monster kills itself out of remorse.

    This chilling story is a vivid reflection of Mary Shelley's Marxist-like beliefs. It is a twisted and gruesome story, but an entertaining one at that. It is a great work of fiction, and a classic. A good gothic horror read....more info
  • If you are looking for a classic that isn't boring.... READ THIS!!!
    I had to read this book as part of an Honor Extention for my High School English class. I honestly was not looking forward to reading it... at all... but I'm glad I did. It's an eye-opener and both disturbing and sad. Frankenstein is NOT going to be like a modern day hollywood action or horror film; so don't expect that. Expect a beautifully crafted novel that is ment to distort or disturb the mind. I was thinking, if this book was intended to be a gothic horror book, why isn't it scary. When you really think about it, it isn't so much scary as it is creepy. I mean, there's a crazed doctor who takes bodies from the undertakers and graveyards in order to sever off limbs and other body parts in order to unnaturally create a human being, if you can even consider it one. If you are looking to read a book that is considered a classic- but you don't feel like (let's say) reading a Shakespear play, read Frankenstein. It's good. It really is. ...more info
  • More than a monster story
    Shelley's novel is so much more than a story about a monster. The whole mood of her novel is electrifying and startling. The sensation is similar to arriving at the very edge of a mountain precipice, gazing down, and feeling the enormity of life rush over you. This sense of vertigo is one of Shelley's gifts. She has the wild writer's mind and she can deliver the chills. One could argue her shocking sense of life was very similar to the later wildly popular french philosopher Jean Paul Sarte, and the theme of his sudden realization of the horror of existence. Shelley's gothic novel written in the age of romance has elements of both styles. But, it's her wild mind that makes this novel eerie, extraordinary and amazing. (Read intently and thoughtfully for best results.)...more info
  • Better than I thought
    The book, Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley, really surprised me. I thought it would be a boring book, with language I didn't understand, and a plot I couldn't get into. But let me tell you I was WRONG. Yeah, it did start a little slow but once you got amerced into the plot of the creature and Frankenstein's hatred for one another, you couldn't really say you had enough of it.
    In this book it starts off with letters from a boat captain to his sister, then we get to see Frankenstein's story, inside that is the creature's, and inside that is the story of the family in whom the creature watches. In other words, a big giant story sandwich. The tone of it could get a little boring and bleak but what was actually going on could never be. From all the deaths in the book it could be labeled a tragedy, but the tragic part was how the creature actually loved Frankenstein and blackmailed Frankenstein, so he, the creature, wouldn't be lonely. But when Frankenstein dies, so do all of his dreams of a loving life.
    But I agree this is still a sci-fi book, but with the plot twists of a tragedy.

    Faith Howell
    Landrum High School...more info
  • A wonderfully gothic tale
    This book is a wonderful piece of literature. It forces the reader to question the origin of evil and wickedness--are people born that way, or is it forced upon them by those around them? Through the eyes of the "monster", the reader is able to see just how cruel and fearful people can be towards anything that is different than they are despite the many good qualities the "different" person may posses. In the instance of Frankenstein's creation, the reader comes to realize that he is in fact very intelligent, and a genuinely kind-hearted being who is unfortunately forced to be cruel in order to survive. The reader is able to sympathize with the "monster" as they see him seek to find love and acceptance in a world. This haunting novel is a timeless classic which will endure through all the ages....more info
  • amazon service way below par
    I ordered a copy of Frankenstein but was billed for seven copies because Amazon accused me of having clicked the order button more than once. I will take this opportunity to accuse Amazon of thoughtfully or thoughtlessly having created the possibility of more than one order per click, a reality that could indeed happen with a purchaser who has a tremor or who quite accidentally clicks the order button more than once. That's a sad trap for customers who don't pay close attention to the orders they receive, thinking that Amazon sent an order in the customer's favor and the customer later not recognizing the reality of what happened and end up paying the full amount of the credit card invoice....more info