I just finished reading this book, famously written basically as a rainy day activity (we shall all write a ghost story!), after picking up the dollar edition at the University book store. In addition to being an unforgettable moral tale with many tragic and relevant characters, it is also written in the archaic mid-1800s and turn of the century style which attracts me so much. H.G. Wells, Robert Louis Stevenson, Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, Bram Stoker, and to some extent H.P. Lovecraft all have a verbose, complicated structure to their writing, daunting to some people but exhilarating to me. I realize that Shelly finished this book nearly 80 years before most of the others came out, but I am lumping them together by century.
Unfortunately, these writers have been obscured by the modern incarnations of their masterworks - complicated tales of human genius and perseverance, reduced to hopeless cliches. Dracula, Frankenstein, Jekyll and Hyde... how many monster movies have cashed in on the brilliance of these creatures' creators and their ability to strike a person so profoundly? In any case, it is not as if the books have been transformed into the movies, one can still buy, borrow or steal the original texts and party like it's 1899.
One thing I did not expect from Frankenstein is its unrelenting pessimism and tragedy. The book starts out quite normally, but past a certain point, each page sends the characters spiralling ever further downward. It really is a bit of an epic story, it spans a long period of time and many places. I don't want to spoil anything, so I'll keep that part secret, though I wish I could remember where some of the more memorable passages were so I could quote them. Certainly the part where young Frankenstein (teehee) sees the tree in his backyard "utterly destroyed" by a bolt of lightning and there begins his movement towards what might be called the dark side of science was one of my favorite parts. I highly reccommend this book, more so because you can get it practically anywhere for a dollar or two. It isn't very long, though dense, but it shouldn't take you more than a few days' good reading to do. Get on it!