Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This is my third read of this classic. :) I've been through all the surprises before, like the fundamental differences between hollywood and literature, and I'm sure by now most people know that the creation is a rather smart and passionate cookie.
My deeper ah-ha moment was the revelation that the real monster is Victor, the creator, not so much the creation. He's a dead-beat dad. No matter how you see it, he's an ass. Does anyone blame the creature for being angry, for learning how to read so well just so he could complain, eloquently, just how much he is disappointed in Victor? We only blame him for the murders. Of course, if he's not really human anymore, so our morals hardly apply, right? Alas. That's another can of worms I'll save for Crime and Punishment someday.
So Victor is really brilliant natural philosopher, absolutely, but he's also very short-sighted, and so we have the other theme of the novel. The "Uh, oh, look what I did," theme. "Is there no one in the whole damn world that can help me clean up this pile of doo?" After keeping silent, blaming himself, and two courtroom dramas later an a couple major tragedies, he still doesn't appeal to a slightly better class of people... say... the military...? :)
Of course, this presages all the technological additions to Mary Shelley's world, the eventual ramp-up of the industrial revolution, and the general atavistic fear of anyone versus the *new*. Sure, it's a cautionary tale, but fortunately, this novel is a LOT MORE than just that.
It's great prose. In fact, it's nearly poetry. It's lofty and passionate and framed by a very popular theme of the day. Finding the Northern Passage. I honestly loved that part of the novel, beginning and ending with a chase of vengeance across the Arctic. I hardly care any more that the novel is part epistolary, because the majority is all first-person. :)
Fun from beginning to end. :) I still put this one in my top-one hundred. :)
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