Friday, April 25, 2014

Round Robin Blog Topic: You Loved the Blurb--What Happened?

April's Round Robin Blog topic:
You loved the blurb. First page sounded interesting. You bought the book. What makes you throw the book you're reading against the wall, stomp on it and go find another?

The blurb on the back cover or the inside sleeve of a book is supposed to draw you in and make you want to buy the book. It is supposed to be intriguing, giving you a flavour of the novel. 

Catchy Blurb: "One of the best-known horror stories ever. Victor Frankenstein, a Swiss scientist, has a great ambition: to create intelligent life. But when his creature first stirs, he realizes he has made a monster. A monster which, abandoned by its maker and shunned by everyone who sees it, dogs Dr Frankenstein with murder and horrors to the very ends of the earth . . ."

Deciding to read Frankenstein was a bit of a whim. I wanted to see how different it was from the twentieth-century film versions, and since I loved B Stoker's "Dracula" i expected to add this classic to my "keeper" shelf.

I can't blame Mary Shelley for some of the things I disliked. I find early 19th century fiction to be strangely peppered with sensitive, high-born protagonists who suffer nervous fits. But these delicate lords who require six months of recuperation try my patience. And Victor Frankenstein has so many nervous fits -- and spells of madness -- that it's a wonder he ever gets a chance to build a monster in the first place.

II can't excuse Victor Frankenstein's justifications for his actions. I could see it if Shelley were ultimately condemning Frankenstein for being such a lazy, selfish, ineffectual, and cold-hearted but she isn't. The only thing Frankenstein did wrong was to play God by delving into the secrets of nature.

The fact that he totally abandoned his "monster" is not seen as irresponsible. And when that monster found itself alone and terrified, spurned by all humans, unable to find companionship even from the man who created him-- Victor Frankenstein doesn't think this is particularly sad. When the monster decides to get revenge of those who rejected him -- Frankenstein (and Shelley) both label the monster as "cruel" and "bloodthirsty."

Almost half of the book is about the monster's good deeds and his heart-wrenching attempts to join a society that will never accept him. The other half is about Victor Frankenstein running away from every responsibility he has.

 When describing geography, Shelley entranced me. When it came to characterization, however, I could only care about the monster...and I don't think she intended it that way.  (The book gave me nightmares.  Not because of the monster but because of the "abandonment").  

Thank you for stopping by to view my blog post today.  
Next on the blog tour: Beverley Bateman -

Happy Reading,

A complete list of this month's guest bloggers:


Rhobin said...

Interesting take, and I have to say when I read Frankenstein the monster seemed more interesting than all the other characters.

anne stenhouse said...

Hi Connie, Actually you've made me want to go back and re-read it. Anne Stenhouse

Fiona McGier said...

I've never read the book, but what you described is always what I think when I watch the various movie remakes. Even the original, with Boris Karloff as "the monster", had him as a much more interesting character than the fop who created him or the twit he was engaged to.

And in Mel Brook's "Young Frankenstein", which we enjoy every Halloween, the monster is still one of the stars of the story...but only one because everyone in that movie is so perfect, including Cloris Leachman ("Frau Blucher"...neigh!)

What I've found with older books like this is that you can tell some of them were paid by the word, because there is so gosh-darned much description of the scenery. I like to know where they are, but I don't really care what each and every flower that grows there smells like. Get to the action!

Unknown said...

Don't read monster books, so I can't relate, but characterization and a connection is really important to me. I've enjoyed this exchange and learned I have a lot in common with my fellow authors.

Marci Baun said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Marci Baun said...

I've never read Frankenstein. I wonder if it's more of a commentary on the society of the time than taking it at face value. (I'd like to think this, instead of the other. LOL) Perhaps she's showing how society creates monsters, whether it be a situation or a person, but then deny responsibility and place all blame on the aftermath on what they created in the first place.

Then again, I have a feeling I am wrong, even if I think this interpretation is more interesting than theirs. LOL

I don't like horror books at all.

And I concur with Fiona about "Young Frankenstein." It's an awesome movie. LOL

So, what will cause me to throw a book at the wall, or delete it from my iPad, so many things, but the top ones are:

* inaccurate historical information presented as facts
* inconsistent and/or annoying characters
* poor grammar/punctuation

I have a few more listed on my post today. I came in late, so my name is missing from the list. It happens.


Heidiwriter said...

Sounds like I would have the same reaction as you. Course I don't like horror either.

I came in a bit late too, Marci. But I'll go visit you!

darkwriter said...

Interesting post. I liked your analysis of Frankenstein. It's a different take. I've read it, but not for a long time

Connie Vines said...

Anne, if you must revisit the novel, do so long before nightfall.

Connie Vines said...

Thanks Marci. I will visit you blog.

Connie Vines said...

Ginger, I try to visit most genres. Though my horror reads are rather tame. I can experience nightmares after watching "Meerkat Manor".

Connie Vines said...

Beverly, thank you.

Geeta Kakade said...

Well said Connie. I liked your slant on the was different and hit home.


Marci Baun said...

It's sad that there are still atrocities being committed by the US government on the NA today. They still take their children away. They are trying to take their land, even now.


Unknown said...

I never read Frankenstein, the movie gave me nightmares. It's so much fun to see how differently we all interpret the same topic. Thanks for joining in. I enjoyed your perspective.