A new undertaking my two sisters and a friend have started for the year is a book club. I got to pick the first book to read over Christmas and for discussion at our first meeting. I chose Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde because you know, Dickens got it right, it isn’t Christmas without a bit of the supernatural 😉
Some of my favourite books are in the Gothic or Urban Gothic genre: Shelley’s Frankenstein or Wilde’s Picture of Dorian Grey and Stoker’s Dracula. Somehow I’d never picked up Stevenson’s Jekyll and Hyde over the years.
Verdict: It deserves to sit along side all these other excellent books within the genre. It’s truly a fascinating read, seeing the narrator, Utterson discover the confliction within his friend Dr Jekyll. All the way through there is a dark, uneasy tone and suggestion that we all suffer from contradictions in our character and nature.
Although we are not under the pressures that Jekyll was in the Victorian era, having the need to daily practise repression and austerity so much so that he creates Hyde, the book is still today a fitting testament to the need to be honest with one’s self.
When talking of Hyde, Jekyll says,
” that insurgent horror was knit to him closer than a wife, closer than an eye; lay caged in his flesh, where he heard it mutter and felt it struggle to be born; and at every hour of weakness, and in the confidence of slumber, prevailed against him, and deposed him out of life.”
So, well worth a read if you haven’t got around to it yet like me!