RSS

Tag Archives: Reviews

Strange case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde: book review


If you think you don’t need to read the book because you know the story, you’re wrong. You are so wrong. And so was I.

I decided to start tackling the huge books-you-must-read list with Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde as I thought it would be an easy read, I knew what was going to happen and it would put me one book closer to 1000.

It was indeed an easy read, but not what I expected.

 

Let’s start with the fact that it’s not a horror story, it’s a mystery. And a very good one at that. The book is based on the premise of shocking the reader with its completely unexpected twist: that Jekyll and Hyde are the same person. Big problem: everyone knows that already! But if you read the book with the thought that you are not supposed to know that, then you can enjoy it.

Another thing I realized, and I’m not entirely sure why my brain didn’t make the connection before, is that this Stevenson is the same Stevenson who wrote Treasure Island. Two such very different books, it’s hard to see how they both came from the same author.

 

Back to the book (this is supposed to be a review after all) I was surprised at the physical appearance of the characters, especially Hyde. I’ve grown up knowing him to be monster-like, I didn’t expect what I found in the book.

 

Strange case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde is considered a novel, but it runs more as a longish short story. I didn’t read the book, I listened to the audio book and it came a few minutes short of 3 hours. Despite being so short, the pace is good, the story doesn’t feel rushed and you don’t get bored either.

Truth be told, I enjoyed the book more as a description of the Victorian society than anything else. Most books I’ve read of the era are either romance or adventure oriented, it was a nice change to come across what would now be called a paranormal thriller. The view of the world you get is completely different.

 

All in all Strange case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde is a nice little book, it won’t change your world or bore you to death. Short enough that you can read in a couple commutes or on the plane to your holidays or whenever your husband decides that golf is an exciting sport and expects you to sit through the whole open of Augusta.
If nothing, it will show you how inaccurately classics are portrayed in our society, which is always a good conversation starter for the next Come Dine With Me session your husband drags you to with his new golf mates.

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Brave New World: book review


Reading Brave New World feels like starting a trip at the top of a mountain and going down to finish in the valley underneath.

The first chapters show some of the most captivating reading I’ve come across in a long while and make the promise of a great story coming ahead. Sadly that story never really materializes. We meet the characters too far into the book, and then at about halfway the main character appears all of a sudden. None of the characters is, in my opinion, very likable.

In a sense it seems as if Huxley created a world down to the last detail and as he was writing the book realized he needed characters and a story to make a novel.

 

Even if the story itself is not amazing, as I have said, the writing is. You could quote almost every sentence in the book and analyze it, find the deeper meaning, and subject it to discussion. I guess that’s why this book is one of the compulsory school-reads so many teens dread.

If we take the novel as more than that and consider it an elaborate political and social critique that’s where Huxley excels. Almost every single thing he was criticising about the society of the early 30’s has become worse as we start the 21st century. More and more we want to be individualistic and stand out, but in doing so become part of a nameless mass.

Name Britney Spears and everyone knows who she is (even my 87-year-old grandmother), she is an icon,, but at the end of the day, I could have named her or any other good-looking American pop star, they all come from the same mold (and this is coming from someone who actually owns every single CD by Britney Spears and whose ringtone is Till the World Ends).

 

I was quite surprised to always see Brave New World compared to 1984. I wouldn’t put them together at all. They are part of the early sci-fi and they both showcase dystopias, but that’s where the similarities end.

1984 is very character driven, whether you like them or not, you can’t help feeling interested in them and the story they become part of is quite complex. The whole world system is a background for the story. In Brave New World the story is simply an excuse to showcase the world system presented. That said the physiological insight we get about the characters is brilliant. We see them doing things, and we get to understand why they do them, we get to know them.

 

I wouldn’t put Brave New World between my favourite books, those I grab whenever I don’t know what else to read. But I wouldn’t say I hate it either. It’s simply a one time book. I’ve read it, now I’m done with it.

 
 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

 
%d bloggers like this: