Shelley’s Frankenstein (CliffsNotes)


By: CliffsNotes

I have never read a Cliff’s Notes book cover to cover – until now. I have always been aware of the stigma of reading one of these, and was teased a number of times while carrying this copy in public, but I felt secure enough in that I had read the book before, and shared this with the people who poked at me, only to find (with more than a little surprise) that those who were picking on me – multiple people on multiple occasions – had never actually read the book Frankenstein.

I chose to read this copy of Cliff’s Notes because I was trying to take a Book Club class on edX. Unfortunately, I was unable to take the class due to too much other stuff going on. That is okay, and I chose to re-read the books anyways. I have read a number of versions and editions of Frankenstein over the years, and it is still a haunting tale, as was intended, but I was curious to see what perspective this summary would take.

The summary portion of the book is arranged into each chapter, a short summary of the chapter, then a rehash, adding a little outside perspective. Just about what you would expect to see as a grade-schooler’s book report. I would have given the book three stars if this was it. Useful for a refresher, but not much else.

The real value of this book (easily upping it a full star) is the additional reference material. My favorite was the suggestions for practice projects, upping the book to the modern century by suggesting o make websites for the book. This is a project, if I had more time, I would attempt (maybe sometime in the future?). The Essays provide a starting point for writing one (or for the novice plagiarist, as I have seen in past classes, one ready-written) and the Reviews offer further insight and thought-provoking essay suggestions and questions.

As mentioned above, I had never read a Cliff’s book, and was curious. Having satisfied that curiosity, I feel that the book provides added value for those who have read the book, but should not be used as a substitute or short-cut. That’s what causes people to have such a disparaging image of these books, and a stigma that I’ll ignore in the future.

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