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This review is from: Frankenstein: Or, the Modern Prometheus (Penguin Popular Classics) (Paperback)This is a pretty awful book. The basic premise - the creation of life - is an original idea and could have been developed into a fascinating allegory about creating something (like nuclear weapons say) which become uncontrollable and end up destroying the creator. But the author has set her sights much lower. The only wider themes explored are the notion that people assume that beautiful looks belong to beautiful people and vice versa, ie that people are unduly prejudiced by external appearances. Nothing new there.
The book is written in a tedious high-flown polysyllabic style, and the dialogue is laughable, especially that of the monster. He is so frightfully well-spoken - one suspects elocution lessons. Frankenstein himself spends most of the time feeling sorry for himself. The plot, like many nineteenth century plots, is driven by a series of hugely improbable coincidences.
Improbabilities mount and mount. We are expected to believe that the monster acquired fluency in French and a good grasp of world history and geography by squinting through a hole in the wall of a cottage and spying on the De Lacey family (and picking up a lost satchel of books - nearly forgot those); and that he remains undetected by this family in spite of living in their hut all winter. In addition, this eight-foot monster wanders all over Europe without attracting much attention: no monster-hunts, authorities never told about him (when Frankenstein himself eventually tells all to the magistrate, the magistrate more or less says "nothing we can do squire" - as if Frankenstein were reporting a stolen bike rather than a multiple murderer.)
The idea that an open boat could be borne by the current from Orkney to Ireland is crazy - and when he reaches land Frankenstein is immediately arrested for the murder of his friend Henry, whose body had a few days earlier appeared on the same very place! You are constantly expected to suspend your disbelief to breaking strain.
Frankenstein's wanderings in Europe and Britain read like a traveller's blog. It's just padding.
Apart from the ingenious idea of creating life, the only aspect of this book that grabbed me at all was the haunting vision of the desperate and hopeless pursuit through the frozen wastes of the far north. You can keep the rest.