This is one of those books I’ve been meaning to get around to reading forever but probably never would’ve read (or finished) if I hadn’t found a free unabridged audio from SYNC’s summer reading program.
It’s hard to believe that Shelley was only 18 or so when she wrote this novel and though I wanted to fall into it and fall in love with the prose and the story I found it a difficult and overly wordy read. The narrator, Jim Weiss, gives it his everything. There’s no denying that! He reads with such a crazed and overzealous intensity that it was almost too much for my sleepy self first thing in the AM but after a few hours I settled into his style.
The story is less about the “monster” and more about Dr. Frankenstein who is quite easily one of the most unlikable and tedious fellows I’ve read about in a while. His ego has no bounds and his selfishness and general whimpiness were more disturbing to me than anything the monster ever did.
So if you don’t already know, Dr. Frankenstein breathes life into body parts he has sewn together. It takes him much study, toil and much spewing off about his great accomplishments to all who will listen (namely me & himself) but eventually he succeeds! The creature lives! You’d think this would be a joyous occasion, right? But instead of patting himself on the back for a job well done he deems the whole thing a dismal catastrophe because his creature is a fugly giant. I guess he expected him to look like a Greek God but that’s what happens when you sew together DEAD FLESH, I guess. So what does this fine gent do? Great him with open arms and say “there, there, I’ll fix you right up good”? Shower him with a little praise or maybe a bowl of soup, perhaps? No, he deems the beast an “abomination”, turns his back on him and retires to his fainting couch or somesuch for a nap, pretending the beast is not there and probably hoping it was all a bad dream. The poor confused and now distraught creature runs away and who could blame him?
For such a brilliant scientist, Dr. Frankenstein is a bit of a dumbass. The doctor spends the rest of the book fretting and acting hysterically (while taking little in the way of action) as those closest to him die painfully.
I found most of this book a bit dry and boring. I despised the doctor who was such a complete wussy that he practically came down with a case of the vapours every time something dreadful happened, carrying on like a loon for pages without end. Most of the murders could have been prevented if he’d only shown his “monster” a bit of attention, affection and given in to his one little request. Instead, Doctor Frankenstein acts like an ass and gets exactly what he deserves. Lots of doom and gloom and unhappiness and I couldn’t drum up a bit of sympathy.
My favorite parts of the book were those told from the monsters POV (the monster was given a great civilized voice by the narrator). He was actually quite insightful, bright and compassionate by nature until he was treated so badly by everyone he encountered. He, of course, does some very bad things but at least they made sense.
This book was nothing at all like I expected. It was only 9 or so hours long but it seemed like an eternity and honestly I’m just glad it’s over.