book review · books · fiction · literacy · psychological thriller · Uncategorized

Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde

Warnings: None (unless you count incredibly unnecessary words offensive)
Author: Robert Louis Stevenson

Published as a ‘shilling shocker’ in 1886, Robert Louis Stevenson’s dark psychological fantasy gave birth to the popular idea of the split personality. Set in a hellish, fog-bound London, the story of outwardly respectable Dr Jekyll, who unleashes his deepest cruelties and most murderous instincts when he is transformed into sinister Edward Hyde, is a Gothic masterpiece and a chilling exploration of humanity’s basest capacity for evil.’

I have to do this for my GCSE next year, and I wish I didn’t. Whilst reading it, I enjoyed it slightly. After we finished however, I realised how much I disliked it. There’s no suspense at all – it literally tells you IN THE BLURB that Hyde is Jekyll. Whenever any crime happens, the immediate dialogue was always “She/he saw that it was Hyde” or gave the exact description of Hyde that had been used through the whole book.

We had to read through various extracts from reviews of J + H in different years. One man (Victorian) said that Stevenson would be remembered ‘as a storyteller, not an essayist’. Reading Jekyll and Hyde was just as dull and tortuous as reading an essay. If it was late at night and I needed to get to sleep, then BAM! Whip out my copy and read a chapter. I understand why readers at the time, and potentially people now, would find this entertaining, but I just don’t see the appeal. With all of the modern shows, movies and games with a thrill factor way higher than this, I just find it bland.

I’ll take Criminal Minds and conspiracy theories over Jekyll and Hyde any day.



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