Sometimes you read a classic and think “What’s the big deal?”. Other times you read a classic and immediately feel a connection and an understanding to the timeless quality that makes a classic. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley is one of the latter books for me.
I’ve tried to read it a number of times but never got past the first few pages. This time, I chose to alternately read and “listen” to the book via the Kindle’s whispersync capabilities. The narration was lovely (read by Dan Stevens of Downton Abbey fame) but even better was the story. Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein was a story of such deep insight into the human psyche that I am utterly amazed that it was written in the very early 19th century. The wants and desires that she gave the creature were the same wants and desires that every human being has. Shelley used the creature to look at what the result is when the basic human need for love and acceptance are withdrawn. As someone who had only had experience with Hollywood’s version of Frankenstein, I loved being able to read the creature’s viewpoint. It was painful at times, as he had his hopes continually dashed by the so-called civilized society.
It was scary at times, as well. The creatures determination to ruin Frankenstein was scary as well as Dr. Frankenstein’s own willingness to destroy his creation without even trying to understand his (it’s?) needs.
Now, I understand why this book is on every book list. It is not on enough lists! Everyone should read Frankenstein. I am so glad that I finally gave the time to read it. Now to find the time to give it a second reading.
And if you’ve already read Frankenstein, then I recommend listening to the audio version narrated by Dan Stevens. Absolutely amazing.