Rating: 4 out of 5
Last month, I posted that I will celebrate Halloween by reading some classic horror tales and writing reviews about them this October. Why the classics? Why not read some Stephen King novels or maybe some Dean Koontz? Well, after finishing the Classics Challenge 2009, I really began to appreciate the classics. After all, where would be the novels of today if these classics were written?
It's the same for these classic horror tales. Would we be reading the Stephanie Meyer's Twilight series, or the Vampire Chronicles by Anne Rice if Bram Stoker didn't write Dracula?
My book review for today is on The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson. It's a novella published back in 1886. The story is about Mr. Utterson, a lawyer and an old friend of Dr. Jekyll who decides to leave everything (money and all his possessions) to Mr. Hyde. Mr. Utterson starts to investigate after Mr. Hyde murders a man after beating him with a cane that Mr. Utterson gave to Dr. Jekyll as a gift.
I'm not going to talk about what happens next since I don't want to spoil it for you. I'm huge on characters so I'll talk about Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Dr. Jekyll is a well-respected doctor who's very mild-mannered and described as "tall, fine build of a man." On the other hand, Hyde is short, deformed, cruel, and very violent. The differences stop there.
In the story, Mr. Hyde tramples on a little girl without much thought and not caring whether she's hurt or not. I think Mr. Hyde has a bit of a superiority complex where he thinks that he is going to get away with what he did by just giving the girl's family some money. Dr. Jekyll has that same reaction after he's told that Mr. Hyde is wanted for murder. Instead of telling the truth, Dr. Jekyll lies about Mr. Hyde's whereabouts. He doesn't care that Mr. Hyde has murdered another man.
At first, I thought I would feel some pity on Dr. Jekyll. In the end, I really didn't because he's very much aware of his actions but did nothing to stop them or claim any responsibilty for them.
Was the story scary? Well, not really. It was creepy. It's more of a mystery/thriller type of story to me. I think the only time I felt there was some real suspense in the story was when Mr. Utterson and Dr. Jekyll's servants were about confront Mr. Hyde.
Would I recommend this? Absolutely! I had fun reading it. The story was simple and straight-forward. It's a good story to read if you're in the mood for some classic mystery.
Richard Mansfield (shown in the picture above) was the actor who played Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde in one of the plays that was adapted from the story. This was taken in 1895. (Source: Wikipedia)