“The Doctor Made Me Do It”

Hyde, by Daniel Levine (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

Daniel Levine’s Hyde is a retelling of Stevenson’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde told from the point of view of the “monster”—Hyde. Retellings of this sort, some more effective, some less, have become a popular genre. Hyde most definitely falls on the “more effective” side of the line.

This is one of those books I don’t want to write too much about because it is so striking on first reading. I don’t want anything I write to undercut that pleasure for others. That said, I can point out a few of my favorite aspects of Hyde.

• Hyde provides a pair of believable back stories motivating Jekyll: one from his childhood, one from his more recent professional career.

• While Jekyll has no knowledge of what Hyde does when in control of their shared body, Hyde witnesses everything Jekyll does—but is unable to influence Jekyll’s behavior.

• From about two-thirds of the way in, most readers will know how this version of the Jekyll/Hyde story will end, but the book never becomes predictable. Even when one can see what’s coming, the characters continue to develop, becoming more complex and more engaging through the last page of the book.

Hyde is available in bookstores as of today (3/18/14). If you’re looking for a great summer read, with richness of character and plot, as well as thrills galore, you really can’t do better than Hyde.

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