Hello Loyal Readers! Every Friday I try my best to scrounge up a free book that’s worth reading and this week it’s:
This is another of those stories like Shelley’s Frankenstein and Stoker’s Dracula; everyone knows the story but few have actually read the book (including me!). It’s a short work—really more a Novella.
I don’t know if I’m even CAPABLE of spoiling this work, but Jekyll and Hyde, for those who don’t know, is a story of two men: Dr. Jekyll, a doctor with purest intentions of isolating the evil in men’s hearts, and Mr. Hyde, an asshole.
What has science done?!
Why I Picked It Up
I heard the news from Books On The Knob that it’s free on nook, kindle and miscellaneous. As I mentioned before, it’s so ubiquitous that I just couldn’t resist the urge to see for myself and share it with new readers. I as well have neglected reading this classic and I want to figure out what’s up!
I, like many of you, already know the plot—I even saw the musical (thought it could have been better written)—and I figure as it’s free, there’s no more excuse for not reading a classic!
What I Like About It
There’s a certain ‘voice’ with which stories of the Romance Era are told, and it’s here in full and I love it. I also like how the story, at least to start, is told through the eyes of acquaintances of the two men—It’s great for tension and building up to “the big reveal”—a bit different from many adaptations I’ve seen.
There’s also an in-medias-res opening, which is a great way to start.
The book opens as what appears to be the main character of this work, Mr. Utterson—a lawyer—passes a suspicious building with a friend, who tells him a story of how he saw the man who lives there assault a small child. Without going into too much detail, the mystery is on from there and that’s the hook; the little plot dominoes neatly fall atop one another in a chain.
What Could Be Better, If Anything
While Romance Era novels have a lovely use of voice, they have one significant difference from modern literary trends: an almost empirical thoroughness in establishing the character, right down to how many bowel movements he has in a week. That takes up the first few pages.
The edition I chose to download has a foreword which, while interesting, stretches on a little bit and, if you’ll pardon the expression, licks the author’s balls a bit much.
One other final note, my edition has quite a few typos and some heinous punctuation errors. You can tell it was scanned and digitally converted from an old paper copy. I can still read it, but I know this amount of errors would mess with some people, so shop around—there are four or five different free versions of this book on the nook alone.
In the end, like with many classics, the hook lies outside the literature and within our culture. But I’m enjoying it and I plan to keep reading!
Have you read Jekyll & Hyde? Let us know what you thought of it in the comments!