Monday, January 17, 2011


by Mary Shelley

Buy the book here.
Buy the movie version.


Plot: A man creates life, which in turn seeks to destroy him and everything he loves.

     The main thing that struck me about this book is that while it may be easy to label the "monster" as the bad guy, Victor Frankenstein is not innocent himself. He created the creature, then abandoned it. All the terrible things that happened to him were entirely of his doing. If he had taken the time to realize that this newly created life was his responsibility and had treated and nurtured it according to that responsibility none of his loved ones would have been murdered. Only once during the entire course of the novel does he even hint that the creature's disposition and not just its existence is his fault, and that's just before he dies.
     It's easy to label the creature as the "bad guy" but I beg to differ. He knows no different. He had observed love and kindness toward others, but horror, violence and disgust were the only things he ever saw directed toward himself. How could he possibly be expected to know the difference between right and wrong? He shows evidence of knowing that what he does is wrong, but only on a theoretical level. Like a child, he cannot just be told that certain things are right and others are wrong, he must be shown those principles through the actions of those around him.
     Naturally the second thing that struck me was that the novel's plot is nothing like the plot of the original movie. I do feel that the movie held true to the theme and moral of the novel, though.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

All Things Bright and Beautiful

by James Herriot

Buy it here.


Plot: The adventures and misadventures of a newly-wed country vet.

This book is a sequel to All Creatures Great and Small which I have also read and quite enjoyed. I didn't like this one as much as its predecessor, but it was still a good read. Like the first book, this one is a compilation of humorous and/or emotional stories from James Herriot's real life. While All Creatures Great and Small took place between the time that he first joined the country practice fresh out of vet school until he married, All Things Bright and Beautiful picks up shortly after his marriage and contains stories from then until he leaves to serve in WWII. The author deftly avoids mentioning the war except where necessary and focuses all his attention on the day-to-day mishaps and wonders of the practice.

Overall, the book is good. Not life-changing, hardly thought-provoking, just a light-hearted snippet of life. I do look forward to reading the rest of the series someday but the reason I gave 3 stars rather then 4 is because I would not recommend this book to everyone. Only for those with a real love for animals and who can handle the surgery scenes without losing their lunch.