Monday, July 7, 2014

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. HydeThe Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde 
by Robert Louis Stevenson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book is on my classics club list because I felt like I should read it even though I thought I knew what it was. I was totally wrong. It was a much better and more interesting book than I expected it to be. This particular edition has an introduction by Vladimir Nabokov and and afterword by Dan Chaon, both of whom talk about the issue of expectations of this famous story. Because it is the subject of many movies, and cartoons, and other stories we think we know what the book is about, but those other works have taken the kernel of the story and made it into something else. The novel itself is a complex and interesting look into the nature of a man as he struggles with his own internal demons. In many ways it is a story of addiction. 

The style of the book reminded me of Charles Dickens and Wilkie Collins. The structure of it kept a lot of information from the reader until well into the story, and some details (like what horrible things Hyde does when he is out and about) are never revealed. This was a very effective way to make the horror aspect of the story really scary because the reader's imagination provides the darkness so it will be what each reader finds horrible. 
“Strange as my circumstances were, the terms of this debate are as old and commonplace as man; much the same inducements and alarms cast the die for any tempted and trembling sinner; and it fell out with me, as it falls with so vast a majority of my fellows, that I chose the better part and was found wanting in the strength to keep to it.” 
This famous work by Robert Louis Stevenson (arguably his most famous) was my title for the latest Classics Club Spin and I highly recommend it.


  1. Now this is one I should read. I never thought that it would be that good either, but you have convinced me.

  2. I think I read this too young. I should try again - esp after this great review :-)


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