Review: Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, Introduction by Diane Johnson


Book Information:

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
Introduction by Diane Johnson
Bantam Dell
Published in 1818. Republished in 1967, 1981, and 2003
ISBN 0553212478
216 Pages

Series Information:

Not a series.


4 out of 5

While voyaging through unexplored regions of the ocean where only ice dwells, Robert Walton discovers something more than new regions. He finds a man, Victor Frankenstein, on top of an ice raft. Robert finds a friend in Victor, but he finds out that sometimes knowledge is better left alone through Victor’s story – where Victor was in the same pursuit of knowledge and created a “monster” from it.

Okay, not really a good summary, but it will do. I checked out Frankenstein from my library because I wanted to compare it with The Casebook of Victor Frankenstein by Peter Ackroyd, which I will (re) read after I finish this review. :)

Anyways, the version of Frankenstein that I read has an introduction by Diane Johnson, author’s introduction, and a preface by Marlow before the beginning of the actual story part. I read all those, so I will mention how informative and good they are, of course. However, it is up to you, if you read this version, whether or not you want to read them or not. With the introduction by Diane Johnson, it was very err… informative. She writes information over Mary Shelley’s life and how she kind of incorporated it in her story. It also talked about some of the themes that are in the book, so if you want to draw your own conclusions, don’t read the introduction all the way. Anyways, I find it interesting, and it saved me some time because I didn’t have to research Mary Shelley’s life. Anyways, don’t read it, read it; it’s up to you. ;) Next is the author’s introduction. This is where Mary Shelley explains how she got the idea, why she wrote it, and things like that. Not really necessary to read, but it is interesting. Last is the preface by Marlow, where he explains the feelings he had over Frankenstein and makes comments. Out of all the intro parts, I would say that the preface is the least necessary one, and it is only kind of interesting. However, it is up to you whether or not to read them. :D

Anyways, onto the main part of the novel and what I thought about it. ;) Robert Walton tells this novel through letters to his sister, Margaret. Through these letters he retells the story of Victor Frankenstein as Victor tells it to him in some sort of lesson format. Why do I say a lesson format? Hmm… Because like Victor, Robert wants to further scientific discovery, and (I think) Victor wants him to learn that with discovery comes some consequences as he found out the hard way. There are other lessons like you shouldn’t judge someone by how they look because you never know how good they are on the inside. Also, if you treat them harshly just because of their looks, you don’t know how they will react and take it out on someone else. And I guess another one of the lessons is that you shouldn’t create something (like life/a child) if you are just going to abandon and hate it. :( Like I said, a lot of lessons about moral compasses and how you should think before you act, and I like how the author makes all these lessons visible and pull your heart to it.

Now for the things that are both good and bad. Another thing I like is how the descriptions just pull you into the book, and you can just imagine how it might look like, but it does kind of get tiring to read all them to the point where you just skip over it. So, the descriptions are both a good thing and bad thing since there are so many of them. And I think that’s all the things that are both good and bad. Now, this could be good or bad to you, depending how you are, but I don’t think it was really “horror” since I didn’t drop the book and run away. I don’t like horror since I get scared a little too easily sometimes, so the book being kind of horrorless might appeal to some people.

While I loved the lessons, descriptions, and emotions the novel tries to surface on you, I didn’t like how disappointing it was, and how empty some of the actions were. But then again, I think this book is more a “lesson” one than an action or any other type of book. Though, I was still disappointed on how it ended and the lack of details of the actual experiment and other actions, which is why it is rated 4 out of 5. Though, even though it is sort of disappointing and leaves you wanting more, it leaves enough to make you think about things you normally wouldn’t or try not to. Also, the character development doesn’t happen that often in Mary Shelley’s version, so the book is disappointing on that end as well. However, you feel sorry for both Victor and the monster on both ends – and feel like they are both stupid in their ways of thinking.

Overall, the disappointment is a little bit overshadowed by how it makes you think how humane you really are. Also, the lessons it teaches and the emotion it shows leaves a strange mark on your heart. I definitely will read it again because of the emotions it brings out, that is, if I ever decide to re-read it. Though, I don’t think I will check out the same book because this one is kind of falling apart. :X

Where I Got It:

Checked out from the library.

Challenges Apart Of:

Goodreads 2011


Not planning to re-read.

Other Reviews/Author Site:

$New_Bullet Mary Shelley
$New_Bullet Goodreads
$New_Bullet Library Thing
$New_Bullet The Lost Entwife

Places to Buy From:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble