Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Book Report: Frankenstein Moved in on the Fourth Floor
I've been a Frankenstein junky since I was 8 years old. After catching a chunk of the original James Whale/Boris Karloff film on television I became borderline obsessed with the story for the better part of a year. I read the Mary Shelley novel in one sitting (I was stuck in a hotel room in England for three months and had lots of time on my hands) and devoured anything with the name "Frankenstein" in the title.
One of my favorites as a child was Frankenstein Moved in on the Fourth Floor by Elizabeth Levy. Looking back, the book captured that constant feeling of panic and mystery that children feel when venturing into the adult world.
More importantly, Frankenstein Moved in on the Fourth Floor is a rare argument against the kind of fear of fear that was peddled to my generation. I grew up in the shadow of Adam Walsh and popular media was fixated on convincing the nation that satanic cults and child molestors lurked around every corner.
If I recall correctly, the message of Levy's book is that the world is not the creepy, dangerous place it sometimes appears to be. I wish there were more books like it. It might be the biggest reason I never bought into the brand of paranoia sold by goons like Geraldo Rivera.
Above is a bit of art I drew back in 1979/80 to accompany a book report. It's done in crayon and marker, the favored media of adolescent artists everywhere.
You can visit Elizabeth at her website by clicking this link.