Some books are classics because they were the first of their type, not because their literary value is really that great. Frankenstein is an entertaining enough book with a kernel of a story — Doctor Victor Frankenstein, overcome with hubris, figures out how to animate life from dead body parts — and creates a wrathful creature. There are also a number of interesting philosophical questions which Mary Shelley partially addresses through the medium of her characters' long, long soliloquies.
"You, who call Frankenstein your friend, seem to have a knowledge of my crimes and his misfortunes. But in the detail which he gave you of them he could not sum up the hours and months of misery which I endured wasting in impotent passions. For while I destroyed his hopes, I did not satisfy my own desires. They were forever ardent and craving; still I desired love and fellowship, and I was still spurned. Was there no injustice in this? Am I to be thought the only criminal, when all humankind sinned against me? Why do you not hate Felix, who drove his friend from his door with contumely? Why do you not execrate the rustic who sought to destroy the saviour of his child? Nay, these are virtuous and immaculate beings! I, the miserable and the abandoned, am an abortion, to be spurned at, and kicked, and trampled on. Even now my blood boils at the recollection of this injustice."
Frankenstein's nameless monster is much more interesting than in the movies - he's more of reanimated superman than a shambling zombie, possessed of extraordinary eloquence. Every time he meets someone, he gives a long discursive speech, usually a self-justifying one. The monster is unfairly persecuted, denied the friendship it genuinely desires, and then betrayed by its creator. However, it also commits murders whenever it's aggrieved, then swears that it would never have done so if only people weren't so mean to it. So, you feel sorry for the creature, but it's hardly an innocent. Ultimately it's left to the reader to decide who is more responsible and who is the greater villain: Frankenstein or his monster?
That said, Frankenstein is really not a very well-developed novel; the characters all act in foolish, contrived manners, and none of them have any depth (the monster probably has the most complicated personality). The plot kind of plows along with foreshadowing a ten-year-old could see, and the prose is very, very purple even by 19th century standards. It's very much the sort of story you'd expect a clever, talented teenager with a vivid imagination to write, which is what Shelley was. Because she didn't have a lot of competition in 1818, especially in this genre, she got published.
Do I think this was a bad book? Well, I was never bored, and it is a classic. And it does make you think about how much the monster is to blame for its behavior. (I think Shelley's intended message, that Doctor Frankenstein's hubris brought about all the destruction, is a bit washed out by the more compelling question of free will.) I would recommend anyone to read the original story, but rather like Dracula, it can be a bit of a slog at times. I would recommend trying the audio version, as I did: a good narrator (like Simon Vance) can pull off the long, wordy monologues without sounding as stiff and absurd as they seem in print.
The audio was great. The words were said with fluency. The story was dark though. If you like the Romantics, this is the book for you.
Absolutely. Frankenstein is a wonderful horror story and the characters are iconic and amazingly crafted. I always thought I would like Dracula better but in the end Frankenstein is the better story. Simon Vance's performance was superb.
The monster. I can understand his emotions even if I didn't agree with what he did. The whole scene when he is with the family in the mountains is sad and well written.
I think he brings a deeper sense of empathy to the monster. He also gives us great insight into Victor and both his selfishness and his guilt in what he has done.
This book probably doesn't need another movie.
Didn't always like reading, minus RL Stine and Comic books. Then I found myself getting a BA in English Literature at UC Berkeley. During that time, I found it hard to read for fun so I started listen to audio books. I dig... The Classics (especially ancient lit) Tolkien Palahniuk AC Doyle Some Sci-Fy
Not from Simon Vance
His diction didn't vary much. The quality of the recording was lacking.
I love this book, but I could not get into this reading of it. Vance's delivery put me to sleep more than it drew me in. His tonality is soft and he doesn't change pitch or act much out. I really feel like its an overall fail of a great piece of literature.
It can be Hell on earth - or heaven. You choose!
Anyone who doesn't know the story of Frankenstein is either a) not from this country or b) has been living under a rock for the last century. A true classic in its own right that began the proliferation of many copy cats soon thereafter.
Wow .. I didn't know Mary Shelly wrote this novel at the tender age of 19. Geez. That's just mind boggling.
Narrator Vance gave an exemplary performance.
It is definitely not the best example of Simon Vance's performance. The accent which the narrator has chosen for Frankenstein fluctuates and seldom is forgotten at all. Kind of a hastily made narration by a professional.
no, but i would pass it down to my siblings that are going into English IV
Victor Frankenstein, because he is a mad scientist.
this book is great for people that are in English IV, it is a good book and the audio is great and i would advice all high school students download this audio and read this great book.
The classics should be read by everyone at least once. I did like the book but not enough to listen to it a second time.
I didn't really like the main character or his friends. I sympathized more for the Frankenstein monster.
Good performance each characters' voices where distinct.
Somehow I never read this book in school. It is a classic and very influential so I wanted to hear it. It has a really interesting structure of stories being told within the larger story, which allows you to hear from three different characters in first person. This book deals with big important themes like hubris and compassion in a clever way. I just found the overwrought misery of each of the characters unbearable. There is a whole lot of bemoaning one's fate in this book and the reader's performance does not help matters. I had a hard time getting through it.
This story begins with a great concept, but is very poorly executed. One improbable event is followed by even more improbable events. The monster seems to have a homing radar with Frankenstein and his friends. This probably has to do with the fact that this story was originally a short story and only at the urging of her husband did Mary Shelley extended it to a novel. The narration was adequate but the cauterization at times seemed silly.