Has Anyone Even Read ‘Frankenstein’?

First, where in the world did October go?! It’s insane, really.

IMG_0985I hope everyone had a wonderful Halloween! George was thrilled with trick or treating. He dressed up like a dinosaur (which is humorous to me, as I nicknamed him after “George” from Peppa Pig, and George loves Mr. Dinosaur), and he was precious. Don’t tell him this, but he looked so cute in his fuzzy dino suit and tail. He also mastered this little roar. Ah! The best.

And, of course, we can’t leave out Miss Minnie Mouse, who literally had homeowners exclaiming when they saw her. She’s afraid of dogs (don’t get me started on this topic), so she was a little nervous when a house had a barking dog. However, she did quite nicely for herself, candy-wise.

Now, onto literary escapades.

Due to October’s spooky nature, I chose Frankenstein by Mary Shelley as my October Reading Challenge. I should’ve read it in high school (or even college, as I’m an English major), so I made up for lost time. I actually listened to the audiobook while driving and washing dishes, so I’ll forever have this particular man’s voice in my mind as Frankenstein’s monster growled out something or another.

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P.S. I’m not 100% certain the monster actually existed.

OK, let’s discuss said growling.

Has anyone actually read this book?!

I’ve seen cultural references to Frankenstein my whole life, as the monster is a very common figure to emulate, imitate, and replicate. For the life of me, though, I can’t understand how we got it all wrong?

I’ll address my husband’s greatest pet peeve in this arena first. Frankenstein isn’t the monster, but rather Victor Frankenstein, the scientists who created the monster. You probably knew this tidbit already.

Also, let’s discuss how–very early in the book–Frankenstein obsessively and manically creates this being, brings it to life, regrets his decision, allows the monster to wander off, then goes about his merry way?! What’s the deal, Victor?

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Couldn’t resist this one…

Next, why do we always portray the monster as this brainless oaf with no ability to speak? We can probably give Mel Brooks’ 1974 Young Frankenstein some credit for this, but culture definitely took this idea and ran foolhardily. In Shelley’s novel, the monster is extremely eloquent. He spends quite some time stalker-creeping a cottage full of down-on-their-luck family members, so he learns how to communicate, a bit of history, and human interaction.

When everyone freaks out at the sight of him and treats him horribly, he withdraws and asks his creator for one thing–a wife, someone to love and who will love him (hopefully). Victor agrees to this request under duress, but later changes his mind, mostly to tick off the monster looking through his window.

Thankfully, Victor faints often and has months of recuperation, otherwise he’d probably cause numerous other problems along his way.

FrankensteinIn the end, I enjoyed it more than I expected, but I also rolled my eyes more than anticipated. Victor was so dramatic. Maybe men of that era actually swooned and lamented as such, but I find that challenging to believe.

Bonus Points: I also read Mary, Who Wrote Frankenstein, a picture book by Linda Bailey. First, the illustrations (Julia Sarda) are fantastic. Second, it’s an overarching view of how Mary Shelley became the author of such a fantastically creepy monster story, the first of its kind. Highly recommended, especially as we’re waving bye-bye to October.

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