Monday, May 28, 2012

My reaction to Frankenstein

As our first month of this challenge draws to a close and we gear up for our next book it’s time for one last reflection on the book that we have just read. 

Starting this challenge with a well known book such as Frankenstein turned out to be a great blessing for me.  It allowed me to ease in with a subject that I thought I already knew.  Of course, it turns out that everything I thought I knew about Frankenstein was wrong. 

The modern idea of who this monster is differs greatly from the character that I found on the pages of Mary Shelley’s book.  I have always thought of Frankenstein (the monster) as a slow moving being both physically and mentally.  Reading this book was eye-opening.  The true character has deep emotions and feelings leaving the reader not knowing whether to hate him for his killings or love him because of the pain that he has experienced.  I found myself experiencing this same tugging of feelings.  Who is the real monster in this book?  After a month of reading, I still can’t answer this question.  Perhaps the answer is both.

As for the story itself I found it surprisingly simple, and yet wonderful.  The worlds flowed smoothly in front of me and I found myself immersed in the story, loving every minute of it.  Mary Shelley is a master of storytelling.  The simple narration led to the genuine feeling of the book, and by the time the book concluded I felt a vested interest in almost all of the characters.  This is a book that I would highly recommend.  I now understand why it is on the top 100 list, and yet surprised that so few people have read it. 

I know that this book was based in science fiction, but as I was reading it a very real life warning for myself came to mind.  The idea of destruction through the pursuit of a single passion not only impacts science.  It can also impact people like you and I.  Let me try to explain.

I have 2 dreams that I am currently pursuing.  First I have returned to school so that I can complete my Masters degree and go into vocational ministry.  This is an intense pursuit and it requires a great deal of time and energy from me.  Secondly I am working towards my dream of becoming a published author.  This is also an intense pursuit which keeps me awake into the wee hours of the morning.  There is nothing wrong with either of these pursuits and some might even say that they are good.  If I am not careful though, I may allow my pursuits to lead to my destruction.  Many who have sought these goals before me have lost their spouse and children along the way.  They have lost friends and family.  When they finally achieved their goal they looked up and found themselves completely alone and unsatisfied.

Like Frankenstein we each have the capacity to push ourselves to ruin, all in the name of some greater purpose.  May this book serve as a reminder of that possibility.  It was a good book with good characters but for a book to be truly great it needs to change us.  I believe this lesson (at least for me) is what makes this book great.

 What are your thoughts?  Did you enjoy the book?  Why?  Any takeaways that you can share with us?


  1. I haven't quite finished Frankenstein yet (90% complete), but I went to look for the next book and discovered it is not available on Kindle! What a bummer. I'll try to get a copy sometime soon.

    I never could quite get into this book, and maybe it's because I didn't like the main character. I think I sympathized more with the monster.

    1. I just finished the next book and I have to let you know that it is a wild ride that will leave you scratching your head. Flannery O'Connor may be one of my new favorite authors though.

      Frankenstein is strange in the fact that the main character is the one that is the least to be admired. From his very first reaction to the demon it becomes hard to find pity on him.