Tuesday, December 04, 2018

Book Report: "The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde"

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. HydeThe Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Robert Louis Stevensons' dark, disturbing tale of duality thrives because of its innovative narrative format and incisive psychological expiration.

Told from alternating perspectives in what is now known as "Rashomon" style, a police procedural-like murder mystery from witnesses gives way to a fevered tale of internal conflict, in which the mad scientist central character faces off with the alter ego that he wrestles with for control of his physical body.

What emerges by the end is that the struggle Jekyll and Hyde endure is something everyone goes through to a degree. Jekyll is not some foreign entity, but a heedless id who indulges his dark impulses. It's possible to argue that Hyde is his true self, and Jekyll is the mask that he's crafted to make himself presentable to society.

Parallels with alcoholism and addiction emerge, with Jekyll suffering physical withdrawals as well as moral conflicts when he considers whether or not to continue to enable his alternate personality.

Richard Armitage delivers a heartfelt, frenzied reading in the Audible version, infusing the story with the harried passion that Stevenson seems to have intended. His fevered delivery helps insert you into the conflict.

There is a lot to consider and sort through in the tight, efficient tale, and it's easy to see why the story has been echoed and repeated, most prominently in "The Incredible Hulk." This is a true essential.

Publisher provided review code.

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