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Should I let my kids read Frankenstein?


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We just joined a Classics Book Club for homeschooled kids in my area. And the first book is Frankenstein. All the kids in the group are under the age of ten. I'd probably get the Classics Starts version. I have never had any desire to read it, and I'm put off by this choice (I know it's Halloween and all). Would you have your kids read it? Or is this totally inappropriate? Is it very violent/scary? I hate to skip out on the very first meeting... :glare:

 

I just downloaded a free version onto my Kindle--I suppose I'll be pre-reading it this weekend. I'm just not excited about it. Sigh.

 

Oops, I meant to add a poll. Too late. Now you'll actually have to comment. :D

Edited by bonniebeth4
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I read this book in college and honestly don't remember if it's scary, but I do remember getting a LOT out of this book. The themes in the book are quite mature. How old are your kids?

 

I bet you'll like it and be surprised at how much you like it. I'm holding off on it for my kids until they're a little older - high school sometime.

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I read this book in college and honestly don't remember if it's scary, but I do remember getting a LOT out of this book. The themes in the book are quite mature. How old are your kids?

 

I bet you'll like it and be surprised at how much you like it. I'm holding off on it for my kids until they're a little older - high school sometime.

 

 

It would be my 7- and 9-year-olds reading it. I don't expect them to get the deeper themes. They're too young to see anything but the story lines.

 

I edited my OP to make their ages a little more clear.

Edited by bonniebeth4
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Your kids are really young for the full version. I would wonder what the abridged version changes or leaves out. The original starts very slowly as a series of letters between an explorer and his sister.

 

It's been a couple yrs since I've read it. There are murders, but I don't remember any graphic detail. The compelling part of the book is that you feel pain for the monster's rejection by society and his creator.

 

The theme that stood out to me the most was the need to be responsible with science, since this was an exageration of the effects of uncontrolled technology or technology that was carried out without considering the ramifications.

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Agree with Jennifer, the themes are for mature audiences - the morality of playing God, etc. You could use it as a "just because you can, doesn't mean you should" lesson at young ages. As an abridged text, though, you will likely lose a lot of the moral and be left with a monster story, so that's your call.

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We did a read aloud around 8 or 9 years old for Halloween. It was sufficiently creepy, but not over the top, but I think that's just due to her eloquent writing. It was enjoyed by all and there were no nightmares :). However, I do think you need to take your own dc's reaction to the content into consideration - I suppose there are quite a few kids who might be disturbed by the whole idea of the story.

 

ETA - we did do a lot of discussing of the issues. They were good, hearty discussions. Part of this, I think, was because I was reading it again for the first time in about 20 years right along with them.

Edited by LauraGB
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Hi Bonnie,

 

My son and I read the Classic Starts version of Frankenstein last year. He was nine at the time, and I thought that version was perfect for that age group. I don't remember anything being so frightening or disturbing that I thought it would be innappropriate. I would not read the original with the kids, because I think it would be way above their heads and it probably would include some things that wouldn't be appropriate for them. I'm sorry I can't remember specifics of the scariest parts (which probably means they weren't that bad) but if you'd like I can pull it off the bookshelf and look for specific parts for you.

 

Also, think about your own kids reactions to other scary things....if they're very sensitive, maybe you can pass on this book club selection, but if they can handle most of this same stuff as other kids in their age group they'd probably be ok with this. (I was a pretty sensitive kid and even this would have been ok when I was 9, but maybe not when I was 7. )

 

Feel free to PM me if you'd like to know more about the book.

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I am one who introduces hard things to my kids at young ages, but I would hold off on Frankenstein for now. Your kids are too young to enjoy it properly or draw from it the rich lessons it has to offer. The story itself is fine--I would not worry about moral content, violence, or s@x. The story is clean and violence is mentioned but never graphically/descriptively. There are strong moral lessons and life lessons to think through. The language is readable. However, I think a slightly older child would have a much fuller enjoyment and appreciation of this book.

 

My own dd read it this year, as an 8th grader. Her reading/lit skills are quite high, so she found the book interesting and engaging. I would venture to guess she would have done fine with it last year as a 7th grader as well. I would not recommend the book for younger children though.

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My VERY sensitive dd does not like most Disney shows like The Little Mermaid because the Octopus is scary. We are fairly conservative and do prefer wholesome material in our home. That said, it is assigned in our TOG yearplan this year. I was SO close to not assigning it... but I saw it used and picked up, deciding that I would peruse it over summer and evaluate. I determined it was fine for my, again, VERY sensitive dd, and I really wanted to expose her to this "safer" version. I'm using it as a read-aloud because I want to experience it right beside her. We are reading the Classic Starts version, and so far (almost finished), the only thing that has bothered her is the cover of the book. There are horrible pictures of body parts in jars, etc. Solution: we just don't linger on the cover. ;) I would have no problems reading this version to a child as young as 8, so long as it's this version and I'm available to chat about it. Personally, I'd ask the person leading the group if they're going to linger on the scary stuff. And even if they do, kids in a group setting tend to have more bravery and will yuk it up. I think they'd be fine. :001_smile:

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Could you preread the version and see if they would be able to enjoy it?

 

I'll probably end up doing that.

 

We did a read aloud around 8 or 9 years old for Halloween. It was sufficiently creepy, but not over the top, but I think that's just due to her eloquent writing. It was enjoyed by all and there were no nightmares :). However, I do think you need to take your own dc's reaction to the content into consideration - I suppose there are quite a few kids who might be disturbed by the whole idea of the story.

 

ETA - we did do a lot of discussing of the issues. They were good, hearty discussions. Part of this, I think, was because I was reading it again for the first time in about 20 years right along with them.

 

Thank you. So did you read the original to them?

 

Hi Bonnie,

 

My son and I read the Classic Starts version of Frankenstein last year. He was nine at the time, and I thought that version was perfect for that age group. I don't remember anything being so frightening or disturbing that I thought it would be innappropriate. I would not read the original with the kids, because I think it would be way above their heads and it probably would include some things that wouldn't be appropriate for them. I'm sorry I can't remember specifics of the scariest parts (which probably means they weren't that bad) but if you'd like I can pull it off the bookshelf and look for specific parts for you.

 

Also, think about your own kids reactions to other scary things....if they're very sensitive, maybe you can pass on this book club selection, but if they can handle most of this same stuff as other kids in their age group they'd probably be ok with this. (I was a pretty sensitive kid and even this would have been ok when I was 9, but maybe not when I was 7. )

 

Feel free to PM me if you'd like to know more about the book.

 

My 7yo is actually much less sensitive than the other two. He's the only one who does not run out of the room when scary music comes on during a cartoon.

 

I only saw the movie as a kid. I remember not being able to sleep well for days. It totally freaked me out.

 

Oh, I bet. Movies are always scarier than books. I read Lord of the Rings multiple times before the movies came out. I never considered them particularly violent, so I was pretty shocked at the level of violence in the movies.

 

My VERY sensitive dd does not like most Disney shows like The Little Mermaid because the Octopus is scary. We are fairly conservative and do prefer wholesome material in our home. That said, it is assigned in our TOG yearplan this year. I was SO close to not assigning it... but I saw it used and picked up, deciding that I would peruse it over summer and evaluate. I determined it was fine for my, again, VERY sensitive dd, and I really wanted to expose her to this "safer" version. I'm using it as a read-aloud because I want to experience it right beside her. We are reading the Classic Starts version, and so far (almost finished), the only thing that has bothered her is the cover of the book. There are horrible pictures of body parts in jars, etc. Solution: we just don't linger on the cover. ;) I would have no problems reading this version to a child as young as 8, so long as it's this version and I'm available to chat about it. Personally, I'd ask the person leading the group if they're going to linger on the scary stuff. And even if they do, kids in a group setting tend to have more bravery and will yuk it up. I think they'd be fine. :001_smile:

 

:lol: I bolded your first sentence. My dd has been known to run out of the room while watching Little Bear! I think that has more to do with the tension between characters than actual scariness, though.

 

Thanks everyone. You've encouraged me to at least read through it on my own. :001_smile:

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I agree with others here. Good book. Interesting themes. Not inappropriate or too scary, but not something kids that age would get much out of. More like a waste of time if you ask me - and could turn them off to the book for later, I would think. What a strange choice if the book club includes youngers.

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It's strange but really rather interesting. Brings up a lot of interesting questions. I didn't think it was inappropriate for my teens. We read it together and had a lot of interesting discussions. We are a Christian family and I'm quite careful about what my children read, if that's any solace.

 

But my kids were in high school! I personally think it's not appropriate for a 10 year old. Then you're leaving out the main, bigger themes, and it becomes simply a strange, scary story. Not that it would be horrible, but I just don't see what the point would be to read it at that age...

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