Friday, October 9, 2009

Review: Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

frankenstien audio book image

Book Stats from Amazon:

  • MP3 CD
  • Publisher: In Audio; MP3 edition (December 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1584725117
  • ISBN-13: 978-1584725114

    Synopsis: (may contain spoilers for some)

    This story is a well know horror classic and is an epistolary novel. It is written as a series of letter from an educated English explorer to his sister as he embarks on a journey through the inhospitable icy Northern regions of the world. As he is traveling with his ship and crew, he finds a man half frozen to death traveling on the ice. The captain brings the frozen Doctor Frankenstein onto his ship and nurses him back to consciousness. It is here that Victor Frankenstein's tale unfolds  as he tells his tale to the captain where it is relayed to the reader through the captain’s letters.

  • A bit beyond the basics

    Victor begins by telling his story from his childhood on. He states he is from a wealthy family whom is loving and close. He is educated and is expected to marry his cousin of sorts and is happy to oblige. Being intellectually inclined he studies all the great philosophers of the age, eventually becoming obsessed with creating life from death. When he eventually does this, the man/monster he creates is appalling to him and is relieved when the monster finally disappears.

    The monster, spurned wanders in the wilderness contemplating life where he eventually stumbles upon a family that he grows to adore and wishes for his own. They do not know he exists, as he watches them from afar. In this way the monster learns the ways of the world. When he finally tries to befriend them they are of course horrified and violently reject him. The monster is heartbroken and horrendously distraught. He blames Victor, his creator, and vows to destroy his life completely. The quote below exemplifies his complete distress:

    Cursed, cursed creator! Why did I live? Why, in that ... instant, did I not extinguish the spark of existence which you had so wantonly bestowed? I know not; despair had not yet taken possession of me; my feelings were those of rage and revenge. I could with pleasure have destroyed the cottage and its inhabitants and have glutted myself with their shrieks and misery.

    My Thoughts:

    I listened to this novel, unabridged, on audio. It was very pleasant because on this version the reader has an English accent which was wonderful and appropriate for the story. I am not sure if I would have been able to actually read it in written form, since old English can be very difficult. So I recommend audio for experiencing this wonderful classic. I give it 4 stars.

    The story is emotional and it pushes the reader’s feelings toward those of complete and utter despair, both from the Doctor’s perspective and that of the monster’s. The monster himself is not terrifying. He is a lost soul in part a product of his environment. I think that the story is more heartbreaking than it is scary.

    Its link to GLBT:

    One of the reasons I listened to this audio book was because it was designated GLBT in nature. Thinking about it from this perspective I think it is due to the intimate relationships between the main characters, being mostly males, which are very convoluted and intense inferring an intimacy of sorts. I can also see that since GLBT individuals may un-rightly be considered an abomination by some, this may also be a source of connection for the community. The horrible feelings of being an outcast, being shunned by society, family, or father all link to the experiences of the monster.

  • This book is being read for 4 challenges – The Basics Challenge; The Fill in the Gaps; GLBT; and RIPIV.

    Links from Amazon are as close a match as I could find to the version I listened to and may not be currently available. They are listed in the order here US/UK/Canada.


    Shellie (Layers of Thought) said...

    Posting note so that I can follow and respond to comments - which I have sadly missed in the past :(.

    Emily Cross said...

    If you like shellie i can add your email so you get notifications? but you'll get them for every comment not just your posts though :)

    let me know

    Shellie (Layers of Thought) said...

    Emily -
    Yes please it will help me keep up with whats being posted as well. :)
    I am still getting together my basics challenge should be up next week.

    hifidel said...

    Frankenstein is one of my favorite novels, because there is so much to it. I have taught it in the past, and even after several years of teaching it over and over, didn't get bored with it. It's a fun one.


    Shellie (Layers of Thought) said...

    Shelly -
    Thanks for the comment.
    I am glad you enjoyed it.... a lot can be examined from it - there have been some interesting comments on the post at my blog about it.
    Did you teach it in high school? If so what did the students think. I would have hated it...but as an adult really enjoyed it.

    hifidel said...

    I taught it to undergrads, but most were older students coming back to complete their education. It was a great discussion.


    Shellie (Layers of Thought) said...

    Shelly -
    That would make it so much nicer - adults wanting to be there.

    My step daughter read it last year in high school. She was bored silly and the attitude was *meh*. Tough age group to keep interested.:)