A book review by Nithya, our student intern:

This Halloween will certainly be different. With nothing to do and nowhere to go, how do we celebrate? Well, if you still want to get into the holiday spirit, horror literature is the way to go!

Horror, thriller, and suspense have been a mainstay in pop culture for decades in all forms of media, and for good reason. Their emotional and meaningful impact in our world of stories is unrivaled. But while the works of Stephen King, Dean Koontz, and Shirley Jackson continue to fly off of the shelves, I urge you to reconsider a classic this Halloween: Frankenstein; Or, the Modern Prometheus or just Frankenstein by Mary Shelley.

Shelley was just 18 when she breathed life into Frankenstein. Considered as the first science fiction story, the initial draft of this revolutionary novel was written for a friendly competition. She, her husband Percy Bysshe Shelley, and poet Lord Byron competed to write the best ghost story. Shelley presented the beginnings of what would be her magnum opus, the tale of a mad scientist and his supernatural creation.

Dr. Victor Frankenstein dared to play God when he stitched a man together and brought him to life on a dark and stormy night. Fearing the monster he believed that he created, Dr. Frankenstein runs away, chased across Europe by the Creature who craved revenge against his father.

As this novel turns 200, the concept that originally made it extraordinary was lost to time: the nature of the monster himself. While the story could have easily taken the side of the frightened doctor, it never ceases to remind you that Frankenstein was the villain. He was the one that abandoned his son, leaving him to his own devices in a world that feared his mere existence. He was the one that manipulated the town into rioting and attempting to kill his son. He was the one to refer to his son as “it”. For a story about a monster, it spent every page making him more human than every other character. Shelley was able to combine the agonized ramblings of the mad scientist and the crippling isolation of the Creature into a compelling narrative about the creation of life and the ramifications of unleashing it into the world. Their relationship is key to the novel’s success; it’s fascinating to watch it shift and distort as the story continues. It’s incredible to imagine how Shelley was able to subvert classic horror archetypes as one of the originators of the genre.

While the old fashioned language might make it difficult to read at times, it well makes up for it with infinitely complex storytelling still relevant to our world. Vivid imagery and smart commentary makes Frankenstein a certified classic, and I hope you choose to revisit it this Halloween: it’s still, very much, “alive”!

Check out a few of the titles in our collection:

Baby Lit: Frankenstein by Jennifer Adams ; art by Alison Oliver

Frankenstein (Great Illustrated Classics for Kids)

What is the Story of Frankenstein? by Sheila Keenan ; illustrated by David Malan

Mary Who Wrote Frankenstein by Linda Bailey ; illustrated by Júlia Sardà

She Made a Monster : How Mary Shelley Created Frankenstein by Lynn Fulton ; illustrated by Felicita Sala

Mary Shelley  by Ma Isabel Sánchez Vegara ; illustrated by Yelena Bryksenkova

Through the Tempests Dark and Wild : A Story of Mary Shelley, Creator of Frankenstein by Sharon Darrow ; illustrated by Angela Barrett

Gris Grimly’s Frankenstein, or, The modern Prometheus [graphic novel] assembled from the original text by Mary Shelley

Mary’s Monster : Love, Madness, and How Mary Shelley Created Frankenstein by Lita Judge

Mary Shelley : The Strange, True Tale of Frankenstein’s Creator by Catherine Reef

The New Annotated Frankenstein

Frankenstein

Frankenstein, or, The modern Prometheous

Frankenstein [audiobook]

Frankenstein [Hoopla ebook]

Frankenstein [Hoopla eaudiobook]

Frankenstein [Bridges/Overdrive ebook]

Frankenstein [Bridges/Overdrive eaudiobook]