Book Review: Frankenstein

Frankenstein is one of those books that people call a “classic” without having actually read it. I don’t deny that Frankenstein is pervasive in our culture, and freaking awesome, but that is mostly thanks to the movies, not the actual book. It took me ages to plow through it, mostly just due to the writing style from the time period.

The book focuses almost exclusively on Frankenstein himself, not his monster. It is barely described at all, other than calling it “gruesome”, and things along those lines. The most interesting parts of the plot, such as the actual process of creating the monster and bringing it to life, is completely skimmed over. A large chunk of the book is about how Frankenstein basically suffers from clinical depression after creating the monster.

It’s all written within a framing tale, of Dr.Frankenstein telling his story to a ship’s captain. I know this was a common device at the time, but it makes the entire events of the story so passive and boring, that I was falling asleep after only a couple pages.

I know, it’s a “classic”. I know Mary Shelley is probably a huge feminist icon for publishing under her own name at a time when women were rarely published. I’m just saying, that for decades, movie makers have distilled out the few interesting parts of the story, and left out all the boring stuff, and we should be grateful for that.

I’m going to say it, but please don’t hate me for it: the movies are better than the book.

On the Clever Chick Scale, this gets a “message me if you want my copy because otherwise I’m selling it, quickly”. That’s pretty low. I think the lowest is “I am going to recycle this book because it’s so bad no one else should ever have to suffer through it”. That’s what “Running with Scissors” by Augusten Burroughs, gets from me, but I didn’t read that this year, so it doesn’t count. Anyway, save yourself some time, and just watch the Robert De Niro, Kenneth Branagh version. It’s probably the closest to the actual book, while still retaining a plot.


May 3, 2011. Tags: , , , , , , . Book Reviews.


  1. the kornberg replied:

    We read this for Brit Lit II and during class decided that Victor is probably gay. I mean, he was all OVER Clerval and was totally meh about marrying Elizabeth. He didn’t even want to get it on before he fought the monster! That said, the original version is a bit better but still not the Frankenstein that the movies have made.

    • thatcleverchick replied:

      I had the same suspicions, but I wasn’t sure if that was the case, or if it’s just looking back on it with our current culture that makes it seem that way.

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