As part of the Back to the Classics Challenge 2012, I am to read a classic mystery/horror/crime fiction piece. I automatically thought of Edgar Allan Poe – but I’ve read so many of his stories that it wouldn’t count. Then a teacher I highly respect told me she was going to start teaching Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein to her grade 12 classes next year – it’s a classic and a great read. Perfect, I thought, another beautifully written work of literature that’ll captivate me.
Boy, was I wrong – not about the beautifully written part – it has yet to captivate me.
I’m about five chapters in and the thought of having to read more makes me cringe, wanna cry, my belly ache, my head ache, and it is the perfect time to organize all those drawers I’ve been avoiding for over a year. How on earth am I going to get through this one?
If there is one thing reading Frankenstein has proven is my love for the succinct. Shelley was a beautiful writer. She captured the voice of her narrators so eloquently – but I’m wondering if she too was paid by the word like Charles Dickens because there are just one too many passages describing Victor Frankenstein’s (the scientist) love of chemistry and natural sciences. I get it already, he loves science….he worked day and night creating his monster…he ignored his family and friends….get on with the story, I’m BORED!
As I read I can’t help wondering how on earth my friend will teach this to seventeen year-olds in the fall. Today’s generation barely has the attention span to sit through a fast-paced action packed commercial – never mind reading passage upon passage about some guy’s love for science. I’m obviously judging this classic prematurely and I’m sure there are many out there who would defend this novel passionately. I was hoping it would have hooked me by now. Sadly, all I can think of is I can’t wait for this to be done so I can move on to my next classic.