Book Review

#1 Book Review

As a book-addict, I’d like to share my personal opinions on the books I’ve read.

I’m not  the kind of person who will ever start a YouTube channel as a Booktuber.

Sincerely, the point is that I thought for a very few seconds about it, I was wondering if I wanted to start filming myself while talking in front of a camera about books, addressing my opinions to an imaginary – virtual audience somewhere in the world.

But, well, I do not want to spend my days at home editing videos, and once I finish I do not want to get worried because of the low number of viewers of my channel.

No, that’s not me, and it’s something I do not want to do.

So, since I post my columns on BuzzFeed, I’m quite sure I can manage also a book reviews section on my website.

I sincerely hope it will work.

Where do I start from?

A book I’ve read, perfect, but which one?

I’ve decided to create an account on Goodreads.com, an interesting website where you can create your virtual shelf and put in it all the books you’ve read – relating them – and also making a list of the books you’d like to read.

Without taking into account the books I read in my childhood, I discovered I’ve read almost 200 books so far.

Not bad.

I tried to narrow it down only one title to review, and I decided to start from a book I read very recently, last year, and that I really appreciated.

I wanted to start from a book which made me think about a particular theme or situation, a book that once finished made me seriously think of the content.

I have the book and I can now start with my review.

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FRANKENSTEIN or THE MODERN PROMETHEUS

by Mary W.Shelley

  – “I expected this reception” said the daemon, “All men hate the wretched;(…)” –

Genre: Gothic novel, Horror fiction, Science fiction

Frankenstein is one of the most well-known and appreciated novel of English literature.

Eight people out of ten know when and how Mary W.Shelley wrote this story, but I will write here a brief summary of the facts if you don’t know anything about it or if you can’t remember.

Mary W.Shelley was on holiday in Switzerland in the summer of 1816 with her husband, the famous English poet Percy B.Shelley, and with two of their friends, another famous English poet, Lord Byron, and John W.Pollidori, a physician writer.

Mary and the other members of the group went to Lake Geneva at Villa Deodati.

One dark-stormy night, Lord Byron challenged his friends to write a supernatural – gothic story to share.

Mary started to write a Gothic short story, but it slowly transformed into a novel which was first published anonymously in 1818. It then, in 1831 it followed a revised version, crediting Mary W.Shelley as the author.

When she wrote it she was not even twenty yet.

The plot:

The novel begins in the form of an epistolary novel.

Robert Walton, an English explorer, writes to his sister while travelling by sea in polar ice, and he tells her that he and his companions had founded a man in weakened condition, and he is now on board.

This man starts telling his story to Robert; his name is Victor Frankenstein and he studied at the university of Ingolstadt, Switzerland.

After some brilliant and terrible researches, Victor becomes obsessed with the idea of the possibility of creating life.

Working on the corpse of an eight-foot man, Victor succeeds in bringing him back to life.

Once he has created the monster, the story goes on with all  the complications and problems that his act produces.

Tragic events, like murder, carry on the lives of Victor, his creature and all the human beings that meet the dead man walking.

I’m not particularly obsessed with Gothic novels, I have read just a few of them, but the violent and terrifying events of this book deeply touched me.

I’ve always been interested on the outcast’s theme and the creature of the story and its creator are a clear example of social outcasts.

The creature is obviously an outcast, but not simply because of his being a dead and living man at the same time, his outcast condition is directly originated by the humans who live in the outside world.

Because of ignorance and fear, and the limited way of thinking imposed by customs, society, and social norms, people treat him unfairly.

The creature immediately becomes a monster.

The creature is a missed good-man, a gothic kind of young son who is abandoned by his father, the only man who gave him life and who should educate him.

There is an emotional moment when the creature succeeds talking to his creator, and he tells him his own version of the facts.

As soon as he get out of his “father’s” home, the outside world rejects him and he has to live alone without anyone who can teach him anything.

In his immense loneliness, the poor creature has to survive all by himself and he has only one certainty in his life, the others are bad, they are my enemies.

At the same time, he is the other, the outcast that everyone fears and rejects.

But as his creature, Victor Frankenstein is a failed humanised God.

He created a creature who will destroy him.

Victor is an outcast because of his scientific interests; he is the only man of science who believes in the words of the authors he read, while the experts deeply refute their theories.

His mad ideas and his unbelievable act represent the massive difference between him, the mad man of science, and the society in which he lives.

In a supernatural, gothic novel the lives of Victor Frankenstein and his creature would have an happy ending, only if the author had not added the society.

Society is always the element that ruins the plot of the story.

There is a movie that I personal adore, Edward’s scissors hands (Tim Burton), that is strictly connected – for me – with this novel.

The man of science (Vincent Price) is a new representation of Victor Frankenstein and Edward is his creature.

An eight foot – dead living man or a man with scissors instead of human hands are immediately recognised as not ordinary.

And such as the literary creature, Edward is abandoned by his father (in this case the creator dies before finishing his creature) and he has to survive in the outside world.

Both creatures can’t live with the other human beings, and the outsider condition can’t be deleted or changed.

 

Frankenstein is a novel out of the time, a novel that describes a condition that has no time restrictions or limits.

Outcasts are everywhere, and Mary W.Shelley’s work gives us the possibility to reflect on it and try to understand how we would react with a strange creature in front of us.

Are we able to accept his/her difference?

Are we sure not to be an an outcast either?

And, how to define what is an outcast?

Each point of view has its own outcasts.

And remember, don’t reanimate corpses!

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