Wednesday, October 31, 2007

RIP II Wrap-Up and Frankenstein Review

Today is the final day of the RIP II Challenge, and what a ride it's been! I finished four books, per Carl's instructions. I would've loved to read more, but life got in the way.

The four books:
Wuthering Heights, by Emily Bronte
Hauntings, by Betsy Hearne
The Borden Tragedy, by Rick Geary
Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley

The two classics, Wuthering Heights and Frankenstein were by far the best two of the four books I read. The other two were fun but pretty insignificant in the grand scheme of things. Next year I'll certainly shoot for more heft (4 classics!), and maybe I'll even surpass four books.

Thanks to Carl for hosting a great challenge! If you didn't participate this year, you should definitely try to get in on the fun in the future.

Review (format borrowed from Bookfool who borrowed from...and so on):

Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley
Everyman's Library edition
231 pages (272 with intro, chronology, etc.)

What led you to pick up this book? I needed a quickish read to finish out Carl's R.I.P. II Challenge. This one fit the bill perfectly.

Summarize the plot but don't give away the ending. A story within a story within a story, etc. The book begins with letters from an Arctic explorer to his sister, and he ends up relaying the tale of M. Frankenstein, the scientist who creates the infamous monster. From there the monster also relays his own tale through Dr. Frankenstein and ultimately the explorer.

What did you like most about the book? I really liked that this book was nothing like all of the cheesy move adaptations! Beyond the fascinating narrative structure, the monster is certainly the most compelling character in the book. He is intelligent, well-spoken and reasonable. His story is also one of the most tragic I've read in any book.

What did you think of the main character? It depends on who you consider the main character. I suppose Dr. Frankenstein is as he's at the center of all the mess. I found him an understandable if ultimately frustrating character. He has a real problem taking responsibility for his creation and seeing that his understanding and nurturing could've led to a very different fate for himself and the monster. He's dense. What can I say?

Thoughts about the plot: Just wonderful. Not really scary in that "horror story," stuff jumping out from behind corners kind of way, but it was very thought provoking and multilayered and fantabulous. I'm nothing short of impressed.

Share some quotes from the book.

"Of what a strange nature is knowledge! It clings to the mind, when it has once seized on it, like a lichen on the rock. I wished sometimes to shake off all thought and feeling, but I learned that there was but one means to overcome the sensation of pain, and that was death -- a state which I feared yet did not understand." page 119-120

Share a favorite scene from the book: It was more than a scene, but I particularly enjoyed the chapters in which the monster explained how he came to grow. That is, how he gained the use of language and a general understanding of the world by watching the everyday lives of a family whose shed he hid in.

In general: Frankenstein was a great choice for the RIP Challenge, and I'm glad I can finally say that I have this classic under my belt. I'm utterly bowled over by Shelley's talent, and I just loved this book. S. is teaching an interdisciplinary writing class on the book right now, and she brought to my attention--well before I started reading the novel--the ways that Frankenstein can spark a number of thoughtful discussions in different fields. Issues of science, humanity, ethics, etc. are are the center and make for a wonderfully discussable novel.

5/5 - I have absolutely no complaints!


  1. It's a format worth stealing - kinda makes it an easier, quicker process reviewing a book when you've got so much else to do, doesn't it? I failed to get through Frankenstein, but your review makes me want to try, again. We'll see. Maybe for next year's RIP. I'll just assume Carl is going to keep this up, forever. :)

  2. Boy, betwteen you and Bellezza, I feel like I've really missed out on a great read. Must. Read. Soon!

    Sure hope you're feeling better and that it's just a muscle strain and not your kidneys!!

  3. I have never read this one. I don't know why either. It just seems to have eluded me. Sounds like I'd better get in gear and read it soon though!

    Nice review. I do like the format!

  4. Congratulations on finishing the challenge!

    I'm glad to hear you loved Frankenstein! I completely agree that it's a tragic, moving and thought-provoking book.

  5. It does make it MUCH quicker and easier, Nancy. I'm all about quick and easy here lately. Definitely give Frankenstein another go if the spirit moves ya. And I assume Carl will carry on for eternity. I hope he doesn't have other ideas. lol

    Les, yes you must! ;) Feeling MUCH better now, thank you.

    Stephanie, I find that happening to me with a lot of books. Other books I haven't read but should: Dracula! Maybe it'll be up next.

    Thanks, Nymeth!

  6. Congrats on finishing! I loved the new edition of Estella's Revenge. :) I'll have to think about joining in on that challenge.

  7. Congratulations on finishing the challenge, Andi. I definitely need to read Frankenstein!


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