Saturday, September 11, 2010

Frankenstein's Monster

Captain Robert Walton cultivated a close relationship with Victor Frankenstein, so after Victor’s death he became distraught and then enraged. He holds the creature Victor created responsible for his friend’s death and takes up Victor’s vow to rid the world of the violent creature. The creature, contrary to what is believed about him, simply seeks peace and an accepting relationship with someone. He is constantly on the run from Walton until he decides to settle in Italy. A mute woman that he saved from being sold and raped decides to stay with them and act as his companion. Walton sees her as disgusting for having any sort of relationship with her and then kills her. Enraged and hurt, the creature vows to take his revenge on Walton’s family. Will this circle of revenge ever end? Will the creature ever find peace?

Frankenstein is one of my new favorite books and I have high expectations for novels that attempt to continue the story. This novel reaches and exceeds those expectations beautifully. Susan Heyboer O’Keefe’s style is similar to Shelley’s, but makes this new text her own with a different point of view. The entire narrative is presented as the creature’s diary, allowing him to express his depth of emotion and his innermost thoughts in his own voice. As with the original, his failures in creating sustainable relationships with other people break my heart. He isn’t just a mute monster, but a heartbroken man who lashes out when he is constantly rejected. Although he may commit atrocious acts, the reader sees his struggle and sympathizes with him. Walton grows to be more of a monster with his relentless pursuit, constant violence, and resistance to listening to reason.

My favorite part of the book is that it retains the interesting internal philosophical debate that is seen throughout Frankenstein. What is a person’s humanity dependant on? Of all the characters in the novel, I see the creature as the most human because of his willingness to accept anyone. He attempted a friendship with the lowest of the low of society and felt a kinship with them. Many of the other characters reject him based on his appearance and assume that he committed terrible acts when he did not. Even the woman he falls in love with who is undeniably beautiful proves to be one of the most monstrous and sociopathic characters.

I absolutely love Frankenstein’s Monster. Susan Heyboer O’Keefe treads the line between mimicking Shelley’s prose and keeping her own identity as an author beautifully. The story ranges from touching to tragic to violent and it all rings true. I look forward to seeing more from her.

My rating: 4.5/5 fishmuffins

**This book comes out October 5. Pre-order it here.**

**This post is for Velvet's September Zombies.**


k_sunshine1977 said...

this sounds wonderful....definitely adding this to my tbr list....

k_sunshine1977 at yahoo dot com

Audra said...

I haven't heard of this book but I love Shelley and the original Frankenstein so I was apprehensive -- but this comment put me totally at ease: retains the interesting internal philosophical debate that is seen throughout Frankenstein.

That's one of my favorite aspects of horror is the real exploration of society, value of life, etc. So thrilled this isn't lost in this book.

Just found you via VVB32 Reads' zombie month and I'm already a fan -- so sorry if I'm all stalkery and commenting on your most recent posts! :)


titania86 said...

Audra, I always appreciate comments from followers! I'm glad you're enjoying September Zombies. :D