Tuesday, November 23, 2010

"The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" by Robert Louis Stevenson

"The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde"
by Robert Louis Stevenson
read by Scott Brick
Produced by Tantor Media
Approx 3 hours

Like I say, every so often you have to go back and revisit the classics. This time around I decided to listen to a tale that has been portrayed as a horror story, but in reality it is the exploration of man's darker side. I've seen the 1931 film starring Frederick March as the lead and while the movie focused on the horror side of things they did a pretty good job of showing the duality of man. But the idea of drinking a potion to become a monster has been the bulk of what popular culture relates back to the Robert Louis Stevenson tale.

One of the reasons I decided to give this book a listen was two-fold; 1 - because it was an audiobook and I could listen while I worked around the house, showered and commuted to work, after all a good audiobook can make a great soundtrack. 2 - because this book was read by Scott Brick. I've always enjoyed listening to Scott Brick narrate books, he puts emotion into the readings that are subtle yet effective. This time around, Brick brings to life the many aspects of late nineteenth century London.

The book covers the piecing together of the story of how Mr. Edward Hyde can be so ruthless and yet be the man the Good Dr. Jekyll has bequeathed everything to through his will, and then through written correspondence from Dr. Jekyll is fully realized as he confesses to his exploration of the split personality through chemistry. Hyde is observed brutally knocking over a child and when confronted offers no apology, instead he buys his way out.

The problem arises when Jekyll discovers his original formula was tainted and after ordering the chemicals for more of his personality splitting concoction, finds they are pure and he cannot repeat the original without first finding what was the impurity in the original. The original formula allowed him to shift back and forth at will between the two personalities. The later formulas allow Hyde to take over without ever getting control of his situation. But Jekyll has a plan and will sacrifice himself to save humanity from his dark side.

Hey this novella is not too long of a read or listen, so do yourself a favor read a classic and enjoy some mystery with a little philosophy thrown in.

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