Dr. Victor Frankenstein may be an early literary example of the “mad scientist” character, but his obsession– and his experiments– were based on the real scientists making the news and gossip circles during the time when Mary Godwin Shelley put pen to paper.
The only difference is that Dr. Frankenstein succeeded in reanimating the dead.
As fascinating as that story is, it is eclipsed by the true stories of electricity experiments, dead bodies twitching, grave robbers, runaway lovers, dissections and murder… as well as the mind of the lady who created the Monster.
Why is this on our bookshelf?
Some people could argue with me when I say that Frankenstein is a geeky book, but as a scientific horror novel, I argue that it is. If not, it has to be at least one of the geekiest books in the AP English/Classic Literature sets. Therefore, a book that explores more about the scientists who inspired the creation of Dr. Victor Frankenstein also deserves a place on our shelves.
Rating (4 stars)
I’ve read books that analyze and expand on famous works of literature before. In the kindest of terms, they can be dull. The Lady and Her Monsters was fast-paced and excited. I read it to learn about the early science experiments that inspired the book, but I also ended up being fascinated by the story of Mary Shelley as well.
Although I’ve read Frankenstein, I think its safe to say that readers only need a general idea of the book’s plot (you’ve seen Mel Brooks’ Young Frankenstein? Good enough) to enjoy the book.
Read this book:
if you are an aspiring Mad Scientist (or a pioneering horror writer) and need good role models.
Don't Read this book:
It’s Aliiiiiive! (If fresh corpses and grave robbers are likely to give you nightmares).
Once you're done, do this:
Watch Young Frankenstein again. Erm, I mean read that classic literary masterpiece, Frankenstein, or, The Modern Prometheus, of course.