We have this story all wrong. Frankenstein is the creator, not the monster. He is a college student, not a mad scientist. There is no hunchback named Igor. There is no lightning. Whatever we think we know about Frankenstein, we have it wrong.
Despite its awful adaptations in movies, cartoons and parodies, this is a fantastic story. It is gripping from start to finish (especially if you are a bit nerdy), it explores the glories and the dangers of putting our hopes in science and society, and, perhaps best of all, it is not too long. I have also been able to strike up conversations about this work in multiple venues, something I have yet to accomplish with any other piece of literature. I couldn't be happier with it.
Frankenstein, as a young man, represents the best society has to offer. He is brilliant, a family man, and in love. He goes to school and immediately finds he has a knack for the natural sciences.He excels in his studies and, after great labor, he discovers the secret to life. Instead of creating something small he decides to create something grand, something like a man but better: bigger, stronger, smarter. Yes smarter. The monster actually becomes quite articulate. Our good friend Frankenstein made but one teensy mistake, he made him hideously ugly. Not on purpose, he intended him to be superior in every way. Unfortunately for the monster (perhaps he would have a name if he were not so ugly) his hideousness was his undoing. Not even the good Christians in the book could accept him. Then again, they were French.
All of this is only the beginning to a marvelous tale. If your burned out on Twilight and Harry Potter and can't find anything else to suite your fancy, give Frankenstein a try.