Monday, February 15, 2016

The 306 Greatest Books #134 - Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

The next up on my reading of the 306 greatest books is Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson. This book can be found on the Observer Book List.

As with many stories I have read, this one was an odd one. I assume most people are familiar with the premise of the story but if not, I wouldn't read this review as I will spoil it. That being said, the premise of the story is that Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde are the same person, transformed through chemical concoctions of the doctor's creation. This is what I knew going in to the story. However, the story is set up as a mystery. Who is this Mr. Hyde? And what is his relation to our dear friend Dr. Jekyll? Reading the story, it felt like a second read through, where I already knew the ending and I was just reading it this time to catch up on the details I missed. A very weird feeling, considering I have never read the book before. Overall, the story was alright. It is written as an autobiographical account from a lawyer friend of Dr. Jekyll's who witnessed the whole thing. The prose is fairly straight forward, except for the last chapter, which was "written" by Dr. Jekyll and gets rather wordy for my liking. It is very short, taking me only a few hours to read, however nothing really ever grabbed my attention. I was rather interested in how the "big reveal" progressed through the story and seeing the groundwork laid down for it was fascination. But overall, I would say that if you wanted to read it, it wouldn't take very long and you may find it interesting, but I wouldn't go out of my way to find it, as it feels that pop-culture has ruined any surprises that were built into the story.

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