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A Reading Vocation

"I Must Read, Read, and Read. It is my Vocation." - Thomas Merton

This is where I chronicle my reading life.  I also blog about writing at Lacey's Late-night Editing.

 

Book 74/100: The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde - Robert Louis Stevenson

The cover art on classics is so weird. Who is that cigar-puffing man supposed to be? Jekyll? Hyde? Henry Poole? Lancaster?

As I was listening to this audiobook, I found myself trying to remember a time when I didn't know the story of Jeckyll and Hyde. I remember encountering in the musical in high school but feel as if I already knew the story before that. At any rate, despite a sort of cultural familiarity with this story, I was pleasantly surprised that there were aspects about it I didn't know. I was also surprised by how short it was, and how much we have embellished it in our various "takes" on the stories -- musicals, movies, etc. Still, this is a book full of possibility and implications about what may be happening beneath the surface of the story we see, and I think that is what keeps it intriguing generation after generation.

Simply put, this is the best classic I've read since I was pleasantly surprised by Ethan Frome over two years ago. The writing was crisp and vivid and kept the story moving forward at a nice pace. The descriptions of Hyde were chilling, and questions about him and the man who spawned him continued to intrigue even after the story was done; I found myself wanting more, even as I felt pretty satisfied with what I had. Most of all, the reflection on the parts of ourselves we try to suppress -- and what the consequences of that suppression might be -- remains as relevant today as when this book was written, and I expect this will always be true.