By Mary Shelley

Frankenstein is not the Monster Mash predecessor that I expected. Shelley tells the reader in an introduction and preface that the novel was written during a ghost-story writing competition with her friends that had been spurred on during a vacation by a sudden thunderstorm and the finding of some old German ghost tales. What Shelley has created is essentially anything but the expected product of a ghost story writing competition.

Though the monster’s creation often dominates the narrative tension of Frankenstein spin-offs, in this original book the monster is created very quickly and without much pomp and circumstance, and the rest of the book constitutes not a spooky Halloween-worthy tale, but a wandering and sometimes painfully repetitive critique of man and his ambition.

As a piece of romantic literature, the book is exactly as one would expect in theme, tone, and writing style. As a scary story, the book is about as functional as a pleasant lullaby is for keeping one awake at the wheel. As a piece ripe for criticism, however, the novel is perfect in every way. From the treatment of women as inconsequential objects, to the homo-erotic undertones present between Frankenstein and his monster, to the offhanded treatment of the wildly different socio-economic classes mentioned throughout the novel, this book is just begging to be analyzed every way to Sunday.