My obsession with variations of the Frankenstein story continues. I’ve checked four Frankenstein (the novel) sequels out of the library in the last few months.
The first of these – A Monster’s Notes by Laurie Sheck – is one I just couldn’t finish. If I’d owned the book I’m sure I would have gotten around to it eventually. I’ve had books that I’ve taken months to finish. Something about them just didn’t engage me or I made the mistake of starting another book before I’d finished the first one. And that lead to another book and …
Anyway. A Monster’s Notes. I wasn’t the right audience for this one. If I hadn’t already read Frankenstein I wouldn’t have a sense of the protagonist. He’d just be someone wandering on the ice telling vignettes and factoids about life and discovery and hardship at polar cap. Not stories of his own life and discovery and hardship – random snippets and stories of the European explorers and sailors who braved the ice and blundered up north and how they suffered and sometimes survived.
At the same time the creature has visions of Mary Shelley’s sister Claire writing letters to various members of their circle.
I was reading the book on my bus commute to the Day Job. And I kept getting sidetracked by other books that I carrying with me. I’d read a few pages. Look out the window. Decide that I needed something more exciting to engage me and out would come pretty much anything else. I renewed the book once but decided that a second renewal for another 3 weeks wouldn’t be enough to have me finish.
I might have been more fascinated if I were more familiar with the lives of Mary Shelley and her circle. Out of context I didn’t get enough information from the letters to have a handle on the people writing them or the people they were writing to.
The book jacket asks, “What if Mary Shelley had not invented Frankensteins monster but had met him when she was a girl of eight, sitting by her mothers grave, and he came to her unbidden? What if their secret bond left her forever changed, obsessed with the strange being whom she had discovered at a time of need? What if he were still alive in the twenty-first century?”
And perhaps the book answers that question in it’s second half. I’m afraid I didn’t make it that far.