The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson ★★★★☆ #BookReview #BookBlog #Classics

Primary Genre(s): Gothic Mystery, Horror, Novella
Published: 5 January 1886 by Longmans, Green & Co.
Page count: about 54 (depends on format/edition)
My Format: eBook via Hoopla
Cover: Simple
Pacing: Okay
Ending: Good
Would I recommend it: Yes
Commission Link: Buy The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

My rating: ★★★★☆

Synopsis
It is about a London lawyer named Gabriel John Utterson who investigates strange occurrences between his old friend, Dr. Henry Jekyll, and the evil Edward Hyde.

My Thoughts

I’m almost 50 years old and I’ve never read this book. I’m glad I’ve read it now. Also, presumably everyone knows the general story so I am not going to worry about potential spoilers below. If you haven’t read it, some of my discussion points below may be considered spoilers so be warned. Here are my pros and cons for The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde:

Pros

  1. Perfect period gothic. I could read books like this all day long!
  2. The sense of darkness and foreboding was palpable.
  3. I love how everyone described Hyde. They’d start by describing his physical characteristics but then they’d end up discussing how uncomfortable they felt just from looking at him. It was a great way to hint at Hyde’s character without revealing that he truly was evil personified.
  4. I didn’t expect the story to be told from the point of view from someone other than Jekyll/Hyde. I started reading this book thinking I knew everything about the story and right off the bat I discovered I was incorrect. I don’t know why I presumed a specific POV narration, but it was a pleasant surprise to discover I was wrong.
  5. I’m sure everything from essays to doctoral theses and more have been written about the duality of man and the significance of this story with regard to that concept, so I won’t go into here. Suffice it to say, I think the actual physical depiction of the duality in this story (good vs. evil) was impactful, compelling, terrifying, and so very gothic.  

Cons

  1. I can’t even believe I am writing a con for a classic like this, but here goes… I thought the writing was a bit choppy, and it wasn’t because of the formal writing style because I’m pretty used to reading books from this period. I occasionally felt like I was reading about random, isolated events without knowing how the event fit into the general story. Even the transitions from chapter to chapter felt disconnected at times. The overall story was incredible, don’t get me wrong, but I felt I had to work at staying connected a bit more than usual for me. I have to wonder if my preconceived notions of the story influenced how I actually read the story as written.

Summary
I did not know as much about this story as I thought. I knew it was about a man who takes a potion to become evil and then he does terrible things… and that actually is the general plot. But the impact of the story is much deeper than that… much deeper indeed. I would encourage you to read the Wikipedia entry for this book. It includes information about Stevenson’s inspiration and writing process, analysis of the theme of duality (good/evil, public self/private self, etc.), and the reception of the book upon publication.

If you would like to read this book and form your own opinion, please consider purchasing through this link: Buy The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases at no extra cost to you. Thanks!

Click here for a description of my rating scale.

(image from Goodreads)

Where to find me:
Facebook: @KayckayBookReviews
Twitter: @KayckayReviews
WordPress: Kayckay Book Reviews

11 thoughts on “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson ★★★★☆ #BookReview #BookBlog #Classics

  1. I don’t know if I’ve actually read this one or just seen the various movies made because the story is so familiar. I may have to see if I have a copy with all my classics I’ve collected over the years and check it out.

    I love going back and reading classics that I hadn’t gotten around to when I was growing up. I made the effort when I first got married and started with The Complete Sherlock Holmes. I was hooked. Now I read every Sherlock pastiche that comes along.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I did something very similar – focused on the classics a few years back. Funny that you mention Holmes, because my husband is a huge fan of Doyle’s Sherlock series and was appalled I’d never read them. So I did – and I loved them!

    Have you read the Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes series by Laurie R. King? It’s a pretty good series.

    Like

  3. Yes, that has to be my favorite of the Holmes pastiche. When I first stumbled upon it 20 years ago, I didn’t see how it could work. But I was blown over by Laurie R. King’s writing. I’ve got all the Russell/Holmes in print and audio (well, waiting for Riviera Gold audio, but have it on pre-order) Here’s my review of the book:
    https://bargainsleuth2010.wordpress.com/2020/07/11/riviera-gold-mary-russell-and-sherlock-holmes-16-by-laurie-r-king/

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I agree with everything you said about the series. It’s better when Holmes is in the scene and I definitely think some of the books went off the rail. But I still generally like the series. I’m a few books behind – I need to catch up!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. It’s an awkward and choppy book in a lot of ways, one reason the best adaptations don’t follow it faithfully (the 1930s version with Fredric March is my favorite).
    But the opening scene in which Hyde knocks down a little girl and then steps on her, not with any malice but because he just doesn’t give a damn, is very creepy.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s