Monday, March 15, 2004

The 306 Greatest Books #27 - Frankenstein

I am going back and posting all of my previous book reviews so that they are listed on my site in chronological order. The reviews are dated for the time when I read the book, hence the reason many of them will be listed for times before this website existed. 

The next up on my reading of the 306 greatest books is Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. This book can be found on the Sybervision and Observer Book Lists. 

There are many stories on this list that quickly fade from memory. Upon looking at a synopsis I can often regain what the story was about and some plot details but many are just unremarkable. Frankenstein is not one of those books. I recall this book in vivid detail, despite writing this 15 years after initially reading the book. The story is very well known by this point in our history. A doctor keeps experimenting, and eventually succeeds, in bringing someone back from the dead. Actually a lot of someones, since the monster is essentially an amalgamation of a bunch of different parts. But the story itself brings up a very unique quandary. Should humanity attempt to play God, and what happens when it occurs. It is a very short read, having read it in only two days. And the writing itself is not that great. I found the book felt "unpolished", for lack of a better word. But the concept is what keeps Frankenstein in the social conscious. Many movie adaptations lack the essential part of the book, which is that the monster is not only self aware, but a fully intelligent individual intent on discovering why he was created by his master, otherwise known as his God. The book is written as a series of journal articles, a method not commonly done back in those times, however is remarkably similar to Dracula in that way. Through this method you get inside Doctor Frankenstein's mind as he works his way through his creation. A very clever book indeed, and one that I'm sure will stick with you through time.