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Audiobook Review: Frankenstein

Title:   Frankenstein
Author:   Mary Shelley
Narrator:   Dan Stevens
Genre:   Classic/Fantasy/Horror
Source:   Audible & Kindle downloads
Rating:  5 
Locate It:  Audible or Amazon

Mary Shelley began writing Frankenstein when she was only eighteen. At once a Gothic thriller, a passionate romance, and a cautionary tale about the dangers of science, Frankenstein tells the story of committed science student Victor Frankenstein. Obsessed with discovering the cause of generation and life and bestowing animation upon lifeless matter, Frankenstein assembles a human being from stolen body parts but; upon bringing it to life, he recoils in horror at the creature’s hideousness. Tormented by isolation and loneliness, the once-innocent creature turns to evil and unleashes a campaign of murderous revenge against his creator, Frankenstein.Frankenstein, an instant bestseller and an important ancestor of both the horror and science fiction genres, not only tells a terrifying story, but also raises profound, disturbing questions about the very nature of life and the place of humankind within the cosmos: What does it mean to be human? What responsibilities do we have to each other? How far can we go in tampering with Nature? In our age, filled with news of organ donation genetic engineering, and bio-terrorism, these questions are more relevant than ever.

My Thoughts:

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 Shelley used the creature to look at what the result is when the basic human need for love and acceptance are withdrawn.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.

November 23, 2014 - 10:08 pm

Vonnie - Frankenstein is one of my favorite classics. I’ve read many years ago and was hoping to re-read it again. I might have to try the audio version. Thanks for sharing!

November 30, 2014 - 5:00 pm

Susan Pamela Spritz Miller - Good review! I’m looking for another audiobook. I’ll have to seek this one out.

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