Review of DR JEKYLL AND MR HYDE by Robert Louis Stevenson
FACTS ABOUT THE BOOK
Title: Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde
Author: Robert Louis Stevenson
Publisher: Penguin English Library
BACK OF THE BOOK(CAREFUL! if you don't know the story yet, this SPOILERS a lot!)
MY THOUGHTS ON IT
I found it most of the time quite difficult to read this short story. It felt like reading way too much unnecessary information that took away quite some pages amongst the very few that there are.
Since the story of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde is very popular, I already knew the twist of the story. Therefore the book took way too long for me to get to its actual point.
I adored this pun at the beginning of the book:
I just found it very funny that such a "lame" joke could be found in such an old and classic novel.
The writing style felt way too descriptive and confusing and made it very hard for me to really dive into the story. I was never really in it but always trying to get into it. The sentences were very often very long and after reading them I never quite understood what their message was supposed to be. All of that made it a rather exhausting read for me.
I didn't understand why everytime a year was named, it was only written as "18-" and therefore never clearly defined.
What I found very interesting was the description of Mr Hyde. I had always imagined him to be a tall and though strange, still handsome man, while my idea of Dr Jekyll was that of a rather tiny nerdy shy slightly crazy doctor. That turned out to be a complete wrong picture of both of them.
In every movie or series adaption in which I've seen Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde so far, Mr Hyde was always depicted as rather tall, when in the book Hyde was described as a dwarf and Dr Jekyll was the tall one. I think it's quite interesting how the general imagination of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde differs from the original text nowadays.
I really liked the way that Mr Hyde was never actually described in this book. The story left almost everything to the imagination of the reader. The way that the only description of Hyde was the feeling of deformity that everyone seemed to have who had met him, was really fascinating.
I wasn't too sure what to think about the structure of the book. Utterson, who took a lot of space in the book, seemed to me a rather useless character, with whom the reader should slowly uncover the truth between Dr Jeykll and Mr Hyde. Since most people now already know the twist of the story, that felt a bit unnecessary to me. The slow discovery of the twist slowed the book down immensely for me. Only the last chapter got to the popular point of the story. And because the story is so short I would have liked it way better if that would have happened way earlier in it.
The explanation from Dr Jeykll's point of view felt a bit weird at the end. I would have liked to read more about the reactions of the other characters in the story and about the consequences of the shocking reveal.
I also would have liked it better if Dr Jekyll's secret would have been discovered earlier in the story and the dealing with it would have become an issue of the story.
I probably also expected the story to be rather about the last chapter and about what comes after that and not about what comes before it and then the last chapter as an explanation. It just felt like wasted potential to not write anymore after that explanation which must have utterly confused both the reader and Utterson. If a reader doesn't know about the twist before reading this book, it also feels a bit unfair to just leave him with this explanation and then finish the book by that.
I didn't enjoy the book that much but still found some parts of it quite interesting.