‘The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde’, by Robert Louis Stevenson, is a midget of a novel with a grand total of a mere 90 pages. But said anorexia is deceptive for within the paperback binding is a deliciously chunky stew of suspense, excitement, intrigue and horror. You may think that I’ve been living under a colossal boulder for previously having no idea as to the actual storyline of this classic tale but quite frankly, I’m deeply appreciative of this former ignorance because, as a result, I was able to truly and thoroughly enjoy the suspense and excitement of Stevenson’s thriller. I loved it.
In an almost murder-mystery style of prose, ‘The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde’ follows a conservative lawyer, Mr Utterson, and the journey of his relationship with long time friend and client, Dr Jekyll. However, as quickly becomes apparent, all is not as it should be and Mr Utterson soon finds himself becoming deeply unsettled by the bizarre acquaintanceship of his friend and another, more sinister fellow by the name of Mr Hyde. Things are a’happening on the dreary, smoky streets of London and as the true, chillingly dark colours of Mr Hyde are displayed through a handful of horrifying events, the reputations and safeties of Dr Jekyll, Mr Utterson and the inhabitants of London are thrown into jeopardy, prompting drastic action. But very soon, Mr Utterson will become learned of the true nature of the behind-closed doors business of his friend…
I loved ‘The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde’ for two reasons. Firstly, this suspenseful, well-constructed little tale had me chilled to the bone, hanging on for more and searching the abyss that is my mind for any conclusions as to the goings-on of the novel. In short, it was a fun and exciting read. The second reason for my love of this petite thriller was its metaphorical undertones. Right up until the very last chapter, I would never have guessed that I would be provoked into meaningful thought, but I was. Good versus evil, dark and light and the very double-natured state of humanity all become very prominent themes by the novella’s end and let me just say that Stevenson did a sterling job of concocting a thematically metaphorical tale while remaining true to the essence of a thriller.
I would recommend this book to anyone who a) wants to read a fun and exciting thriller, b) wants to read a classic but isn’t ready to commit to four hundred pages of Austen, c) wants a fun tale laced with a little moral metaphor or d) anyone at all who hasn’t read it. I commend you, Robert Louis Stevenson, for you scared me, excited me, intrigued me and even made me think a little bit.