Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson (audiobook)

Title: The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
Author: Robert Louis Stevenson
Read by: Sir Ian Holm
Publisher: CSA Word
Length: 2 hours, 33 minutes
Source: Wisconsin Public Library Consortium from the Kewaunee Public Library Website (Digital Download in Overdrive Media Console
I read The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde back in high school sadly on my own and not part of a class reading assignment.  It’s been a few years since then, so I thought I’d listen to an audiobook version to refresh my memory.

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is told through the narrative of a lawyer, John Utterson that hears a tale from a friend of a mysterious Mr. Hyde that tramples a girl.  To Mr. Utterson, the most disturbing part of the story is that the girl is paid off through a cheque signed by Dr. Jekyll, a friend of Mr. Utterson.  Mr. Utterson seeks to understand the strange connection between Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.  The later part of the story is narrated through letters by Dr.  Lanyon and Dr. Jekyll explaining the mystery.
SPOILER ALERT. I had forgotten a lot of the details of the story so it was very interesting to listen to it again.  I like how Dr. Jekyll reveled in being able to separate his dark side and to enjoy living without moral obligations as Mr. Hyde.  But he soon finds his Hyde self was out of control in his way of living, and in control of Dr. Jekyll.  At first he had to take a potion to become Hyde, but soon he had to take a potion to not become Hyde.  It was very interesting how the dark side ultimately took him over.  SPOILER END.

Sadly I think Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde have become so commonplace in our society that it really takes away from the story to read or listen to it now.  It must have been quite shocking to read it for the first time, not knowing the truth. Now it takes away from the entire climax of the story to already know the ending.  I didn’t particularly like the narrative structure of the story either, having it narrated by Mr. Utterson and then concluded by a couple of longish letters.
The version I listened to by CSA Word was very hard to listen too.  It was recorded so low that even when turned up all of the way, I could hardly hear what was going on.  This was very distracting and made it hard to focus on the story.

Overall, Robert Louis Stevenson wrote a very inventive and compelling story.  The only flaw is that it is so compelling that everyone knows what Jekyll and Hyde are and it ruins the climax of the story.


  1. I think a good audio or this book would be interesting. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this book when I read it.

  2. Wow-I did not know the details of this story at all. I'd seen a movie version (with Spencer Tracy and Lara Turner, I believe) that took a few liberties with the specifics. It sounds really interesting and I think I will need to give it a try.