Sunday, February 10, 2013

Book Review: The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Strong tale about the war of good vs. evil
Cons: No movie has gotten it right yet
The Bottom Line:
Fast read and short book
Everyone should read it once
Powerful story

You Need to Read This Classic with Fresh Eyes

Something strange is going on with Dr. Jekyll. He is letting a new friend, Mr. Hyde, take over his life, and his friends don't like it. They try to warn him that Mr. Hyde is dangerous, but Dr. Jekyll won't listen. Only after Dr. Jekyll and a friend die tragically, does anyone learn the horrifying truth.

If you've seen any of the movies or the recent stage musical, please forget them when reading this book. It is ten times better. While most of the suspense of the book, what is Dr. Jekyll's relationship to Mr. Hyde, has been ruined since the book first came out, that is no reason to skip the book. I was surprised to find this book is really an allegory about the struggle between good and evil in each of us. This novella is easy to read, but gets very powerful in the last section, Dr. Jekyll's account of the case.

I first read it in high school and was quite hesitant since people usually refer to it as a horror story. Again, I find this comes more from the movies then the actual book. I view it more as a mystery with a tragic ending.

I'm horrible with symbolism. Usually, when my teachers pointed something out, I thought they were grasping at straws. Here, the symbols leapt off the page. It really gives anyone who reads it with an open mind a lot of think about.

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is the only book I read in high school that I enjoyed enough to go out and buy. It's really stuck with my after all these years.

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