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Friday, 8 July 2016

A Method Actor's Guide to Jekyll and Hyde by Kevin MacNeil

Continuing in my literary vein, I decided to pick up A Method Actor's Guide to Jekyll and Hyde. I am something of a fan of the original Robert Louis Stevenson story, and the theme of duality is always an interesting one to explore. Add in the promise of a bit of the supernatural and I was really looking forward to this.

Robert Lewis is a young actor currently rehearsing for the dual role of Jekyll and Hyde in a new production of the Stevenson play. When he is the victim of a bike accident one foggy morning in his home city of Edinburgh, he leaves the hospital and finds the world stranger and darker than he remembered it. He must try and resume his life as best he can when the world seems to be actively conspiring against him.
I hated this novel so damn much. There are two principle reasons for why A Method Actor's Guide to Jekyll and Hyde just does not work, and conveniently it works out as one reason for each part that the novel is split into.
So, the reason I didn't like Part 1? The main character Robert. He was a reasonably well fleshed-out character, but that didn't matter, because apparently all this guy could do was whine and gripe about how much better an actor he is than everybody else and why does nobody love him?! When your plot for the entirety of the first part is a complaining two-bit hack being repeatedly humiliated by similarly awful people and planning to get revenge on his not-quite-ex-girlfriend, it gets really pathetic really quickly. I had hoped for it to improve as he got more into the role of Jekyll and Hyde, but then Part 2 happened and it just plummeted even further in my estimation than I ever thought it could.
The reason I didn't like Part 2 is some major spoiler material, but at this point I doubt that I am selling this piece of trash to anyone, so here goes anyway. Part 2 is where you find out that it was all a dream. Honest to god, it turns out that the entirety of the previous part was a dream experienced while a writer was in a coma following a bike accident. I didn't think that a twist this hackneyed and cliched actually passed through publication houses. I don't think I've actually seen this twist played out since I was in pre-school, and that was only because people assume that children have ridiculously low standards. So not only have I suffered through Robert's bitching and snivelling in the first place, but it then turns out to be entirely pointless because he's not actually real. Great. I am still considering burning A Method Actor's Guide to Jekyll and Hyde, it pissed me off that much. You cannot pull bullshit like this and then parade it around like it's high art. No.

I am just so angry at this book for wasting my time. The first part is marred by a protagonist so up his own arse that he could probably count as a genuine ouroboros, and then the second part manages to make it even worse with a twist that is usually confined to the worst and most patronising of children's fiction. Don't bother with this at all. 1/5

Next review: Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf

Signing off,

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