Saturday, June 13, 2009

A Monster's Notes-Laurie Sheck

A Monster's Notes
Laurie Sheck
Knopf, Jun 23 2009, $30.00
ISBN: 9780307271051

Almost two centuries ago the Monster met Mary Shelley who wrote the famous novel about him that he knows is somewhat a biography. Created by scientist Dr. Victor Frankenstein, the Monster has remained alive all this time struggling with a need to know. Mostly he is haunted by his inability to comprehend why Victor made him only to discard him.

He muses about Mary whom he met when she was nine visiting her mom’s gravesite and told his story by writing letters to her late radical feminist mom Mary Wollstonecraft and her philosopher dad William Godwin. Mary also kept a diary in which she mentions the Monster, her husband Percy and her siblings. Perhaps it is because of that encounter the Monster muses that he too keeps a journal of sorts especially of his interest in the cosmos, Arctic exploration, robotics and AI, and Google as he seeks another like him. He ponders when he dies can he go to heaven or even hell since his creation is unique. However, it is Father who he worships and loathes that much of his writings always turn to as his favorite possessions are the letters from Henry Clerval who gave him his only real insight outside of the encounters with Victor.

This is a deep but not easy read as it takes a little time to adapt to the format. However, it is worth the effort as Laurie Sheck gets inside the head and heart of the Monster two centuries since he met young Mary. The story line has a whimsical amusing undertone, but is profound with the belief that a key human element is the need to belong. With religious connotations throughout, fans will enjoy A MONSTER’S NOTE as Ms. Sheck enables the audience to see the world from the perspective of a somewhat shunned outsider.

Harriet Klausner

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