The 2015 Classics Challenge is set up by Stacey over at THE PRETTY BOOKS. The goal is to read one classic a month and to blog about the experience. I've always wanted to read more classics and since I'm in a monthly classics book group, I thought this would be a great way to combine the two! Since we're so close to Halloween (keep an eye on the blog for a special book I'll review on Halloween), I decided to pick a scary book classic: The Curious Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
WHEN I DISCOVERED THIS CLASSIC + WHY I CHOSE TO READ IT
This is one of those classics that I have no recollection of when I exactly discovered it. It's not a book or story that I've always known, neither was it one that I suddenly came into contact with and that left an impression on me. At some point, I was aware that it existed and then it was always kind of in my subconscious, but I was never really aware of what the story was exactly about or why it was written.
The reason for this classic is, again, my Literary London course at Waterstone's. (I blab about it a lot, but it's almost done so don't worry too much, I will be quiet about it soon) It was a book picked to represent London from the 1890s until early 20th century for the course and since it's a little bit of a horror story, I decided to chose it as this month's classic.
WHAT MAKES IT A CLASSIC
Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde is probably a classic for the originality of the storyline and how well it represents the time it was created in. First and foremost, it has an amazing plot that leaves you on your edge of your seat nowadays; I can't even imagine what it must have been like for readers who weren't as familiar with concepts like science, mental illnesses and the idea of living a double life. Secondly, it gives the reader insight into the thinking and fears of the late 19th century.
WHAT I THOUGHT OF THIS CLASSIC
Before reading this book, I had no idea whether or not I'd enjoy it. "A story about someone with schizophrenia? At least it's short" is a pretty good summary of my initial thoughts. However, I actually really enjoyed this book though it's nothing like the genres I'm used to reading.
The plot is clearly build up in a structure that focuses on suspense. The reader is supposed to wonder what exactly is happening throughout the story and the little clues won't all come together until the very end. What surprised me was the fact that, even though I've been exposed to double life narratives, I was still really surprised by the ending of the story. I had it completely wrong and would have never figured it out early on in the book.
The reading feels very contemporary, which makes the story easy to read and feel as though it could be happening in London right now.
WILL IT STAY A CLASSIC
Yes. Like I said, the story feels so contemporary and fresh that there is no way this will ever not be a classic. Even if the story itself will fade, which I doubt it will, the narration of double life which was introduced with this book will never. Just think of The Hulk, or Hawkeye in the latest Avengers film, or google "double life" and read all about cheating husband. (Honestly, I tried it. That's all you find.) This is too ingrained into our society to ever forget the original story that started everything.
WHO I’D RECOMMEND IT TO
This is a good classic to start off with and to give to younger children. Though the story is creepy, it's not scary and I doubt it will give anyone nightmares - I was fine and I get creeped out by everything usually. This is a classic with a contemporary feel that you can read in one night and really enjoy. So if you're a lover of anything fantasy or superhero, this book will give you great insight into how those genres started and it's easy to read, so you have no excuse anymore to not read it this Halloween!