1886 The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

by Robert Louis Stevenson
9 November 2009

“The street was small and what is called quiet, but it drove a thriving trade on the weekdays.  The inhabitants were all doing well, it seemed, and all emulously hoping to do better still, and laying out the surplus of their grains in coquetry; so that the shop fronts stood along that thoroughfare with an air of invitation, like the rows of smiling saleswomen.  Even on Sunday, when it veiled its more florid charms and lay comparatively empty of passage, the street shown out in contrast to its dingy neighborhood, like a fire in the forest; and with its freshly painted shutters, well-polished brasses, and general cleanliness and gaiety of note, instantly caught and pleased the eye of the passenger.  Two doors from one corner, on the left hand going east, the line was broken by the entry of a court; and just at that point, a certain sinister block of building thrust forward its gable on the street.  It was two storeys high; showed no window, nothing but a door on the lower storey and a blind forehead of discoloured wall on the upper; and bore in every feature, the marks of prolonged and sordid negligence.  The door, which was equipped with neither bell nor knocker, was blistered and distained.  Tramps slouched into the recess and struck matches on the panels; children kept shop upon the steps; the schoolboy had tried his knife on the mouldings; and for close on a generation, no one had appeared to drive away these random visitors or to repair their ravages.”  p. 6

Just as this sinister house mars the bright and clean street, there is something evil which mars the soul of Dr. Jekyll.  One of his closest friends, Mr. Utterson, is determined to help Dr. Jekyll, who, despite his erratic behavior, assures his friend he is in no danger and is in no need of assistance.

I’ve thought that I should write a review when I reread one of the books on my ‘Favorites’ list, by way of an introduction to them (for those who have not yet read them but might be interested), rather than just listing them and leaving them there.

I like to read The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde at Halloween each year.  And since it happened to be my turn for the book club to choose the book in October, I chose this one.  Robert Louis Stevenson did an excellent job writing it; it is a very interesting commentary on human nature, and will leave you thinking and pondering the truth of it.

In my opinion, it is the ultimate good vs. evil story.  It talks about the good and evil inside each one of us, and what happens to us when one or the other prevails.  And all of this is wrapped up in a very entertaining and somewhat spooky story!  Does it get any better than that?