“The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde” by Robert Louis Stevenson

audiobookreview

A man with a curiosity about the nature of good and evil creates a potion to separate the two parts of his nature.  When things don’t go as planned, the monster grows stronger and lives are lost.


jeckyllandhydeaudiobook

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde

by Robert Louis Stevenson

Narrated by Scott Brick

❤︎ ❤︎

Series: Standalone
Genres: Classics, Fiction, HorrorScience Fiction, Mystery, Gothic, Fantasy, Literature, 19th Century, Academic, School
Published By: Tantor Audio in 2006
Original Publication: Longmans, Green, & Co in 1886 (Original UK Paperback Edition)
Format: Audiobook (3 hours, 6 minutes)

goodreads librarything publisher author

summary

An intriguing combination of fantasy thriller and moral allegory, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde depicts the gripping struggle of two opposing personalities – one essentially good, the other evil – for the soul of one man. Its tingling suspense and intelligent and sensitive portrayal of man’s dual nature reveals Stevenson as a writer of great skill and originality, whose power to terrify and move us remains, over a century later, undiminished.

review

A few years ago, I picked up Treasure Island and absolutely loved it.  I figured, hey!  Jekyll & Hyde is also a classic, and written by the same author, I’ll like this one too!  Unfortunately, it just didn’t hit home for me.  Actually, I’m sort of preparing myself to be pummeled with tomatoes because out of all classics, this one seems to be the one most people like… eek!  Here goes….

Characters

We spend the book trailing a man called “Utterson” who appears to be a prominent lawyer and in service to all the important men of London.  Utterson is nosy, judgmental, and pompous.  I suppose for the time it was written, this character would have been a respectable character with high morals and great compassion, but frankly I found him annoying.  Having to see the story through his eyes was, I believe, an unfortunate choice of Stevenson’s, for it would have been so much more insightful and interesting to see it from Jekyll himself.

The other characters we come across are more or less the same, with the exception of Jekyll (who is only like Utterson half the time.  The other half, obviously, is Hyde) and his manservant Poole, who simply comes across as small and rash and a bit like the Cowardly Lion.

World

❤︎

The story takes place in London.  I found this aspect a bit interesting, actually, because although most of the tale itself is just a series of conversations and letters, you really do get a sense of the surrounding world.  In particular, I thought Jekyll and Hyde’s individual houses – Hyde’s Soho apartment and Jekyll’s sprawling manorhouse complete with operating theatre – to be particularly well imagined.  In addition, these spaces gave a visible sense of character where otherwise the reader has only to rely on an eyewitness account and a pair of letters.

Story

❤︎

The morality tale is an interesting one.  This is along the vein of Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Grey as well, asking the question of “what if we could split ourselves into two halves, one good and beautiful, the other ugly and villainous?  We could indulge our fancies and not face the consequences”.  Unlike Dorian, Jekyll is unable to truly separate himself from that dark, hedonistic side and the consequences chase after him.  See, Dorian Grey strips himself of his conscience as well as the strings between crime and punishment, whereas Jekyll must carry the knowledge of his evil in his heart.  For both, temptation is paramount, although Dorian has more patience than Jekyll, for Jekyll is thrown into his vices rather than growing into them.  For the philosophical question alone, this book is worth reading.  It makes you think.

Writing / Narration

As mentioned above, I feel as though this story would have been much more interesting if it were presented differently.  A first person standpoint would have served it well, rather than a third person outsider.  The dialogue-style storytelling is a fairly common format for 19th century literature, especially for this sort of story where the reader may wish to distance oneself from the subject matter, but I just don’t think it works well here.  Ultimately, the story comes across as mostly a monster stamping on people and an old man being strange and reclusive.

The narration, thought, I will say was just fine.  Scott Brick distinguished the voices well and read at a good, manageable pace.  With classics, especially those written in times when the language and popular styles were a little different, it’s doubly important to have a good narrator or they are unreadable.

Personal Thoughts

All in all, I’m glad I picked up this book and gave it a try, but I don’t think that I will revisit it any time soon.

tldr

Although a classic and woven so much into our daily understanding, I think this is just plain boring.

source

I got this as part of a sale on Audible a couple years ago: I think it was Buy 2, Get 1 Free!  Or something to that effect.  I purchased this book of my own volition and this review is commitment-free.

firstsentence

“Mr. Utterson the lawyer was a man of a rugged countenance that was never lighted by a smile; cold, scanty and embarrassed in discourse; backward in sentiment; lean, long, dusty, dreary and yet somehow lovable.”

favoritequotes

“It is one thing to mortify curiosity, another to conquer it. ”

“There comes an end to all things; the most capacious measure is filled at last; and this brief condescension to evil finally destroyed the balance of my soul.”

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amazon barnesandnoble indiebound audible

The Strange Case of the Rejected Lady & the Half-Blood Myth – #IMWAYR

itsmondaywhatareyoureading

It’s Monday, What are You Reading? is a weekly meme hosted by The Book Date.  It’s a great way to catch up on all the literary ins-and-outs of the previous week, and see what everyone is up to.  Check out this week’s linkup!


It’s been a little while since I’ve done one of these!  My entry “Confessions” pretty much sums up my absence this time…. I do apologize, for anyone reading, mais voila!  Here I am again!

thenightcircusaudiobookI’ve actually had a very productive week as I’ve delved back into my audiobooks and finished an ARC I won back in January (*guilt*).  The highlight of my week was definitely finishing up The Night Circus.  I just felt like it was this beautiful, magical book  I posted a review of that one Friday afternoon, you can check it out here.  If I start talking about it again I’m going to get all gushy and attached!  My husband is listening to the audiobook now; I’m so excited to chat about it with him.

The other finished book, aforementioned ARC, is Pistols and Petticoats by Erika Janik.  I actually have a lot of scattered thoughts on this one, but I’ve got to write a review of it later this afternoon, so we’ll discuss it in greater depth then.  In short, I’d say it was really interesting, but I found it hard to follow.  But more to come!

So replacing those two books as my go-to physical book & audiobook are The Lady of the Rivers by Phillipa Gregory and The Strange Case of Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson.  Jeckyll & Hyde is a short listen – only about 3 hours, so that’ll be finished most likely tomorrow.  While I haven’t cracked open The Lady of the Rivers yet, Jeckyll & Hyde I’ve listened mostly through.  I do like classics, but this one is not going on my list of Classics to Read Before You Die.

My husband and I are now co-listening to Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling.  We’re getting close to finishing out the series, now – I’m going to have to find something new!  I really want to get him to listen through Stephen King’s Dark Tower series, so maybe that one!  Goodness know I could listen to it over and over….

Rejected Princesses: Tales of History's Boldest Heroines, Hellions, and Heretics by Jason Porath

Finally I have my “forever” books – the ones it seems like I will never finish!  Rejected Princesses by Jason Porath – a series of short illustrated essays about the strong women in history who often get overlooked – has been relocated to the bookshelf, so really it’s on a bit of hiatus for now.  I can not emphasize enough that this is nothing to do with the book!  It’s awesome, I just have trouble getting through short stories so I pick them off a bit at a time.  Right now, I’m more focused on writing than reading, so this one has fallen to the way-side.  My “forever” audiobook is, of course, The Great Courses series of lectures of Myth in Human History, taught by Grant L. Voth.  This one, I’m actually getting close to finishing!  I only have about six lectures left.  Right now, we’re working through the trickster gods (think Loki).  Like Rejected Princesses, I actually find this series incredibly interesting, but due to its formatting, I just can’t swallow a lot of it at a time, and sometimes I am not in the mood at all, so it has taken a while.  I think I should have this one finished before October.

I’ve been writing through Camp NaNoWriMo this July as well… nothing fancy and nothing new.  I’ve acutally been using it to try and muddle through revisions on a story I wrote for NaNoWriMo in 2012, so I’m doing a chapter a day and will continue to do so past July – it just seemed a good time to start and get in on the fun!  I will probably do a writing update later this week.

That’s all I’ve got for this week – keep your eyes peeled for the Pistols & Petticoats review!

Cheers!