The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I had hoped that a re-read would have increased my appreciation of this old, albeit classic, tale, but alas, I still just find it *okay*. I can't complain about the style because I've read a lot of Stevenson's contemporaries. I can't complain that it's not "fantastic or gruesome" enough, because it does have a certain low-level miasma of hysteria that works fine as a thriller.
What I can and want to complain about is something that has annoyed me about these people from day one. The insistence that Evil is Written in People's Ugliness. I mean, jeeze, way to play up that prejudice, Stevenson! I mean, sure, the guy eventually got around to murdering someone, but for the most part, he was just letting down his hair, masturbating, visiting prostitutes and spitting on little old church ladies. Not in any particular order, mind you, and probably not all at the same time.
This is a GUILTY PLEASURE novel of good ole repressed England. A "Oh my goodness I'm being so naughty aren't I a bad boy and wouldn't it be great if I could get away with this without ANY repercussions?" novel. Just because it upholds the majority moralistic lip-service in terms of evil getting its just deserts doesn't mean that the book didn't also represent a real and true undercurrent of rebellion.
In fact, I'm sure it was seen and gloated over for just that reason. Hyde may be despicable, but he's also a rock-n-roller, a biker dude, and Trump. He just wants to see the world burn because the world has burned him.
I can understand the popularity of this tale. I enjoyed it on both reads, too.
BUT, I don't have to appreciate the pandering to the lowest prejudices of the time.
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