5 reasons to read Mary Shelley’s ‘Frankenstein’

Hey lovelies! I’m back with another instalment of my ‘5 reasons to read’ series, this time with the seasonally appropriate Frankenstein! I have read this book multiple times; it is one of my favourite classics and its Gothic nature makes it a perfect Autumn read.

[If anyone is interested, the lovelyΒ Johann is actually hosting a Frankenstein readalong this month – maybe my 5 reasons can convince you to join in!]

 

It gave rise to science fiction as we know it

Many people argue that this is the first true science fiction novel. And I am more than happy for it to hold that title. Mary Shelley incorporated the real life development of electricity into her story and lent a factual edge to her nightmare concept. The idea of reanimating a corpse is terrifyingly plausible and makes Frankenstein truly haunting. And if you call yourself any kind of sci-fi fan, then this one is a must-read.

 

It has aged incredibly well

Mary Shelley was so ahead of her time and managed to write a compelling story that also commented on social changes that were occurring. Yet even though we have moved on a lot from those times, the themes Shelley presented still resonate today. The idea of ‘outsiders’, people who look different from ourselves or who cannot speak English, is unfortunately still an issue in many places in contemporary society, and, sadly, it is all too possible to see links between the monster’s experience and that of immigrants today.

 

It presents us with morally grey characters

Nobody in this book is purely good or evil. I love that. Victor Frankenstein, the supposedly good son and brother studying at a prestigious university makes some seriously questionable moral decisions. And the monster himself is the perfect vessel for exploring the nature/nurture debate. I, personally, believe he is not ‘born’ inherently evil; his actions result from the treatment he receives from others. Not that I am condoning his behaviour, obviously, but it makes me genuinely sad that he is treated so abhorrently based on his outward appearance. Anyway, the point I’m trying to make is that these complex characters are the type that I love reading about.

 

The writing is incredible

Many classics can feel very dry and difficult to get through but Frankenstein is not one of them, in my opinion. I love the flow of Mary Shelley’s writing and I have so many wonderful quotes flagged. And the fact that she wrote it when she was just a teenager fills me with awe.

 

It’s so much better than any of its movie adaptations

I am one of those bookworms who will almost never enjoy an adaptation as much as the book itself. It’s impossible to get all the detail of a book into a movie or even a tv series and, in this way, subtle nuances are lost. I believe the phrase “the book is better” can never be more applicable than it is here. There have been countless adaptations of Frankenstein and they always seem to be so dodgy and melodramatic, never capturing the intelligence or beauty of Shelley’s novel. Do yourself a favour and just read the book instead.

 

5 reasons to read mary shelleys frankenstein

I know Frankenstein is quite a divisive book so I want to chat with you about it! Do you love it or loathe it? Do you see the creature as inherently evil? Leave me a comment and let’s discuss! x

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21 thoughts on “5 reasons to read Mary Shelley’s ‘Frankenstein’

  1. Wonderful post! I had to read Frankeinstein in school when I was 15 and I didn’t like it at all, but that was over 10 years ago so I’ve been dying to give it another try, and I’ve actually got a buddy read planned for this month. I’m even more excited to pick it back up now!

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    • Thank you! The first time I read it was for school too and I think that’s actually part of why I love it so much – we had such great discussions about it! The same thing happened with Wuthering Heights. I’m so pleased you’re going to give it another try and I really hope you love it this time around! Can’t wait to hear your thoughts πŸ™‚

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  2. Ah, I’m sorry, but Frankenstein just wasn’t for me! Haha. As you said, I’m really impressed that Mary wrote this as a teenager, but I couldn’t connect with the characters and found the writing to be a bit tedious!

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    • Hehe no need to apologise! If we all liked the same things, life would be boring πŸ˜‰ I can understand why you struggled with it. I genuinely believe that the circumstances of when you read a book can affect your enjoyment of it – because I studied it with my favourite class/teacher, I appreciated it so much more! ❀

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  3. I’ve never thought of ‘Frankenstein’ as a sci-fi novel but now that you’ve said it I can’t believe I haven’t heard this/considered it before. It so is! Anyway, I’ve always loved this story because it’ depiction of human hubris and our desire to play God. For me, I see this as the heart of the story – a lot of the fear comes from how real it could be. IF we had the technology to bring back the dead, I think we would…regardless of the consequences we hadn’t thought out. We as humans seek a mastery over life we probably shouldn’t be trying for. It’s the conflict at the heart of the ‘Jurassic Park’ movies and so many modern stories about A.I. (‘Ex Machina’ being a personal favorite). I see all those stories as flowing from ‘Frankenstein.’ The “creature” changes but it’s the same struggle, the same lessons we refuse to learn.

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