Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Reflections: Frankenstein's Monster

Adam C. Zern shares his thoughts on Susan Heyboer O'Keefe's Frankenstein's Monster:

"I loved Mary Shelley's Frankenstein.  I thought it was profound, moving, thoughtful, and unforgettable.  It is, in my opinion, one of those classics which actually deserve the status of being one.  Frankenstein's Monster is an unofficial follow-up to Shelley's classic, and it strives for greatness but comes up very, very short of the goal.

Frankenstein's Monster is ambitious in that it strives to continue the fascinating themes and motifs established in Shelley's book.  Initially, I was very pleased with Frankenstein's Monster and was anxious to read more of it.  Written in the form of a journal by Victor (the 'monster' created by Victor Frankenstein), the book felt very personal and intimate from the outset but quickly regresses into incessant self-pity and anger which sounded more like an adolescent going through puberty than a being attempting to discover its humanity.  It all became very trite and irritating instead of exploratory and enlightening.

Furthermore, the book attempts to create contrasts between human beings and the monster and make the reader ponder which the true monster is.  It's a fine idea, but it's buried by the fact that most of the characters the reader becomes familiar with during the course of the book are all monsters with very little reason to be redeemed in the reader's mind.  Even the characters that are genuinely good are overshadowed by Victor's petulant whining.  I think the author, Susan Heyboer O'Keefe, might have realized this deficiency by the end of the book and created an exceptionally odd circumstance in which Victor the monster discovers himself to be a man and the monsters of men are forgotten because of the kindness of a few.  It felt contrived and subsequently emotionless.

Thousanders should read Mary Shelley's Frankenstein but skip Susan Heyboer O'Keefe's Frankenstein's Monster.  Writing a follow-up book about Frankenstein's Adam (his monster) is a great idea for a fascinating character.  I think it can be done well, and I'd love to read it.  But this isn't the book to read."

No comments:

Post a Comment