A review by bookswithchaipai
Cleopatra and Frankenstein, by Coco Mellors

dark emotional funny hopeful inspiring reflective medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated


What first made me believe is a love story, gave way to a very deep tale which touched lightly on a lot of heavy subjects. First off, I was carried away by the title which was quite a mouthful. But what I was not ready to discover hiding under such a frivolous name, was something which would change my perspective on a lot of matters, the first of which is love. The book takes us through a repertoire of emotions, ranging from laughter, sadness, disgust, dread all the way to rapture.

Cleo, at the tender age of twenty four, bumps into Frank who is twenty years her senior and a whirlwind romance ensues. But then we are jolted out of our pleasant reverie with marital problems. 

At first I thought it was only about Frank and Cleo, but then their bunch of crazy friends join the melee and we watch their lives intermingling, interweaving and then spontaneously combusting, as each of them are put in the spotlight to narrate their story.

Infidelity, fat-phobia, racism, depression, suicide, dementia, toxic relationship, addiction, alcoholism, Dysphoria are given a large stage to perform and showcase its abilities. The number of content warnings are shocking. Moreover, the drug-addled, quick New York life and the way it changes a person is examined.

The book is divided into chapters, months apart, with vignettes portraying the viewpoint of different people and their relationship with Frank and Cleo. I found the writing style akin to Sally Rooney, but where Rooney failed to grasp my attention, Mellors burrowed herself into my heart. Especially the Sugar Glider called Jesus!

I am so glad this book did not have the cliche happily-ever-after ending, making love and marriage triumph. It was all about the discovery of two souls letting them live the way they want and finding happiness in their individuality.

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