Like many of you our LBF team is apart at the moment. Our weekly book club is not only designed to bring us together through our shared love of books but also connect us with the greater online publishing community. Every Monday we’ll announce a new title, chosen by a member of the LBF team, to read. We’ll then have an online discussion on our Twitter channel at the end of the week. In addition to this, we’ll be writing a book review for every title. Our first book, Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, was chosen, read, relished and reviewed by our very own Amy Walker. Enjoy.
Review of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein by Amy Walker
Each year on Halloween, we see many people dressing as Frankenstein’s Monster but on rereading this book it occurred to me that it would perhaps be more apt for them to swap their scarred faces for lab coats. Is the creature truly the monster in this book or is it, in fact, Victor Frankenstein himself?
Frankenstein shuns all responsibility for the terrible thing he created and subsequently abandoned. The creature tells us the moving tale of falling in love with a family only for them to attack him on sight. He learned so much from the people around him but it seems these people, Frankenstein especially, have learned nothing from him. All he seeks is compassion and yet, because of how he looks, he is assumed to be a monster and he certainly becomes one but was he created a monster or is he a victim of his circumstances?
It’s been many years since I last read Frankenstein and I had largely forgotten the story; I must admit on this read through I found Victor Frankenstein an incredibly difficult character to sympathise with. While the creature repents his sins at the end of the book Frankenstein essentially does nothing. He weeps for the loss of his family but he does not ever really reflect on the role that he played in their deaths. The first death, of his young brother, you could forgive him his outrage, however, the deaths that follow at the hand of the creature are as a direct result of Frankenstein denying him the one thing he asked for.
While I loved most of the book, I really struggled with the moments of Frankenstein’s self-pitying drivel. Maybe I just wasn’t in the mood to feel any sorrow for him but I would love to hear your thoughts. What makes a monster for you and which character do you think is therefore the monster in this tale?