Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, a review

I read the Wordsworth edition of this book: Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde with the Merry Men, and other stories by R.L. Stevenson. I’m going to touch on the other stories, but my primary focus of this review will be Jekyll and Hyde.

I’d seen online that Mrs Stevenson had actually thrown the first draft of this book in the fire after she read it. And I am clapping her for this. Because what even was this? This book had so much potential.

I’m not sure if it’s simply because we’ve had so many more books and stories since this was published in 1887, but it was so anti-climactic. We’ve all heard (or at least in the UK it’s pretty common) of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. One is a horrific monster! One is a lovely scientist. Well the two are actually pretty opposite to each other.

I don’t think Stevenson really noticed that.

I’m taking the piss, of course I am. But seriously in terms of modern day literature not enough of a difference is made between the two. If this was real life then Hyde would indeed be a monster, but having this hyped up to me all my life as a horror story I did expect just a little more from our monster. Highlight here for a minor spoiler: Hyde murders a man and then runs away and hides as though in shame.

This is the only real piece of violence we see from our “monster”. I did enjoy, however, seeing Jekyll attempting to live with his morals despite knowing what “he” has done. Those discussions and seeing his angst was incredibly interesting.

And now we delve a little into The Merry Men and Other Stories. I’m not going to be giving an individual review of these. What I will say is this. I’ve DNF’d this book, mid story. This story being the second to last in the book. I struggled through all of the others.

R.L. Stevenson’s writing in these short stories is just awful. It’s completely boring. He takes really interesting sounding plots and just butchers them. I hate saying this about a Scottish author cause I’m half-Scottish and always here for the rep. But yeah he is just… not my fave?

For my rating on CAWPILE I gave: Characters: 5, Atmosphere: 5, Writing: 2, Plot: 7, Intrigue: 2, Logic: 2, and Enjoyment: 2 which gives a score of 3.57, leading to a 2* rating.

I’m glad I read Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. Just to say that I’ve read the original and to understand adaptations a little better. But I’m not a fan of Stevenson’s writing and I likely won’t be picking up anything else by him again.

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