Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson: Book Review

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Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Book Cover

3 Stars

Everyone who knows pleasant Dr. Jekyll is surprised that he has taken the brutish Mr. Hyde under his wing. Hyde is a horrible person, and everyone who meets him claims to be immediately repulsed by him. It’s obvious that there’s more to the relationship than meets the eye, but no one guesses exactly how twisted this relationship is.

Okay, you probably know the basic story. I think that takes a lot away from the book. I can imagine that this novella was shocking and horrifying when it was first published, but I just felt a little “meh” about it. I understand that there’s a message about pride and ambition and man’s dual nature and all that, but I’m usually looking for a good story. I’m not saying that this is a bad story, or that it shouldn’t be a classic or anything like that, I just found it a little disappointing.

If you’re interested, pick it up. If you somehow don’t know what’s going on with these two men, go ahead and give it a try too. It’s a pretty easy read for a classic, it’s short, and it would be creepy if you didn’t know what was going on.

Dueling Monster Button

I read this as part of Dueling Monsters, hosted by Jill at Fizzy Thoughts and Heather at Age 30+…A Lifetime of Books. They pitted The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde and The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson against each other.

I read Dorian Gray a couple of years ago (my review), and I have to say that he wins out as the worse monster in this match-up. It might help that I didn’t know much of his story before I read the book, but he primarily wins for me because he is such a beautiful man. Mr. Hyde looks evil, he repulses people, and they just have a feeling that all is not right with this dude. People see Dorian and don’t realize what lurks underneath his handsome exterior. I know there are parallels with this part of Dorian’s story and the other book, but still. Dorian is unexpected. And as he realizes what he can get away with, he gets worse and worse, leaving a trail of heartbreak and terrible deeds behind him. Mr. Hyde pretty much is what he is. He gets slightly worse too, but not to the extent that Dorian does. Dorian uses his good looks to wreak more havoc on people, and Mr. Hyde doesn’t ever get that chance.

Have you read one or both of these classics?  What did you think?

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  1. Jekyll and Hyde was rather disappointing after seeing all of the movie versions over the years.

    What I thought was interesting about both books, was that both characters knew that they were, in a sense, lost. They realized that they had gone too far into their darkside and there was no going back. I loved the morals to both, that indulging your darkside is a slippery slope.

  2. I still think J&H is creepier, but that is in part because I'm comparing Dorian to Jekyll rather than to Hyde. Jekyll knew exactly what he was doing when he created Hyde – that's the thing that made J so creepy for me.

    But I also agree that the story must have been MUCH better to the original audience – it does lose something when you know what the big mystery is. Still, I enjoyed it.

    Thanks for joining in the Duel!

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