I’m revisiting this review in time for Bristol Book Club’s Meetup next week. Over two years ago 49p in one of those discount bookshops outside Bideford got me a copy of Mary Shelley’s classic and, to some folk, the first science fiction novel. I could have bought David Copperfield for the same price but felt that Frankenstein would be less challenging for a post-holiday read.
How wrong can you be? I can cope with the wordiness and convoluted sentences of that era, so I didn’t struggle at first. But Victor Frankenstein, he goes on and on about how miserable he is and what tedious company he must be for his friends and family; and when he’s done going on about it, he goes on some more. Well, yeah, you’re tedious to the reader too, buddy. Just get over yourself.
Pages and pages of it. One long, persistent complaint. Don’t we all know people like that? And don’t we all wish we could make our excuses and leave at the earliest opportunity? “Me, me, me, me, me.” They dominate the conversation; they dominate your life. Jesus, I don’t want to read about it as well.
And then that gives them another complaint: “you don’t care about me.” Oh, my God. The fact is: they’re gonna complain about something.
I dropped the book at the point where Frankenstein was about to create Mrs Monster. I was sure that’d turn out badly too.