…he is me, Jekyll said. I created him, from my own mind. A long time ago, when I was a boy, I needed him. I needed someone to protect me, and so I created him inside my head.
What could have been so traumatic in Henry Jekyll’s past that he was compelled to create an alter ego? And why did that alter ego turn out to be one so monstrous?
Hyde. Edward Hyde. After all these years, we get a chance to hear his side of the story. Was Hyde in fact the pure evil he has always been made out to be? Nothing is ever quite that cut and dried. But why, after a long dormancy, does he show up now? There must have been a catalyst that triggered Hyde’s resurgence. And was it coincidence that vicious attacks escalated on the streets of London? Something or someone terrorized women during the time he was alive and thriving, in the mid-1880s. Was it Hyde preying on them, or was something else at work? It seems, once Hyde had been let loose, that things began a slow, deadly decline.
"Levine does a brilliant job of presenting Hyde’s case. Until HYDE, he had been forever misunderstood, and now the author lets him finally explain how he came to be and what made him tick."
As Jekyll neared the inevitable crisis point, he became increasingly panicky. He turned more and more to his other side, the darker one. A year passed, followed by another, with frightening deterioration in his mood. By then, even Jekyll’s domestic staff had grown alarmed by their master’s radical change --- both physical and mental. The doctor frantically tried to find some kind of solution, but discovered he had lost control. After a struggle, Jekyll was dead, never to be heard from again, and Hyde was trapped like an animal inside Jekyll’s rooms --- and in his skin. While Hyde didn’t want to be alone in the body, Jekyll turned out to be weak. The chemicals quit working, and he could no longer come back. As Hyde cowered behind the locked doors, he decided to spend his last desperate days chronicling his life, telling their story from his point of view. It may be the most heroic thing he ever did. But he would have to hurry. Wanted posters had been tacked up all around London, proclaiming him to be a foul murderer. Not only was he wanted by the police, Jekyll’s friends wanted him captured as well. His options had run out.
As the story goes in THE STRANGE CASE OF DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE --- the complete text of which is included at the end of HYDE --- Jekyll spent years experimenting with drugs in an effort to discover if a separate personality could be conjured up and, most importantly, controlled. While some of his patients might have benefited from his successes, Jekyll had a more personal interest in the outcomes. Here, in Daniel Levine’s stunning re-creation of Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic, the reason for the eventual split in Jekyll’s integrity becomes clear, and a sad background emerges. It seems likely that what began as a desire to save himself ultimately led Jekyll to his final demise.
Levine does a brilliant job of presenting Hyde’s case. Until HYDE, he had been forever misunderstood, and now the author lets him finally explain how he came to be and what made him tick. Along with its wonderful originality, the book is aesthetically pleasing, boasting superb cover art and a rich, solid feel. Plus, it contains the special bonus of the classic story that inspired HYDE. The use of quotation marks would have improved upon it, at least for punctuation critics, but that is a small nit. Kudos to Daniel Levine for this extraordinary undertaking.
Reviewed by Kate Ayers on March 21, 2014