By Carrie Pinkard
Welcome to the Halloween edition of Literature in a Cup, a novel-tea monthly book club where we discuss the perfect book and tea pairings. Here’s what we have brewing this haunting month:
On the bookshelf: The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Kiersten White
On the kettle: Basic B*tch
The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein review:
Four and a half out of five teacups
It’s ALIIIIVVVVEEEE!!! The perfect Halloween book that is.
The Dark Descent Of Elizabeth Frankenstein tells the classic tale of Frankenstein from Elizabeth’s perspective. In all the retellings of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, no one has paid much attention to Elizabeth, the young girl who was brought into the Frankenstein home as a childhood companion for Victor. Elizabeth later becomes Dr. Victor Frankenstein’s wife, but a whole lot happens in between.
This book’s prose is dark and delicious. It gives you the female perspective of falling love with a mad man. From an early age, Victor Frankenstein was obsessed with life and death. He was obsessed with human anatomy and what exactly it was that made a person “alive.” This obsession led him into some violent tendencies, tendencies that Elizabeth had to reconcile with.
Elizabeth had a rough early childhood. Her parents died and her caregiver abused her. Then the Frankenstein’s brought her into their home and making Victor happy became her prime responsibility. She put up with his strange scientific tests on animals, and later with his peculiar habit of robbing graves for body parts (don’t you just hate when men do this?). Elizabeth was always cleaning up Victor’s messes. She was always making him appear innocent and “normal” to the outside world. She taught him how to express emotions like a regular person. This aspect of the book revealed a downright bone-chilling term every woman is familiar with: emotional labor.
Despite her efforts, Victor continued on his slow descent to madness, dragging Elizabeth with him. It becomes abundantly clear throughout the book that Elizabeth wants Victor to be happy, but Victor just wants Elizabeth to be his.
“You are mine, Elizabeth Lavenza, and nothing will take you from me. Not even death” is something that Victor repeats often in the book.
The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein is about so many things: obsession, possession, insanity, genius, the quest for independence. It’s about how far we will go for the person we love, and how much of ourselves we can lose along the way.
About the Pairing:
Of course, we had to pair The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein with our pumpkin spice tea Basic B*tch. Both of them are Halloween staples as far as we’re concerned. The spicy blend of cardamom, cinnamon, and cloves will set the mood for an Autumn read. You’ll feel like you’re walking alongside Elizabeth on those chilly nights she sneaks out to rescue Victor from his own mind. The mid-level caffeine will keep you awake because, trust us, you’ll want to be reading all night.
Pick up your pumpkin spice tea here.