Mary Reilly

Thoughts     Mary Reilly  by Valerie Martin, Thorndike LARGE PRINT 1990, 314 pages

FIRST SENTENCE:  It wasn’t the first time I’d been shut up in the closet, if closet isn’t too grand a word for the little cupboard under the stairs.

MOTIVATION:  I had selected this last year for RIP but hadn’t gotten to it. This year, I didn’t officially sign up for Readers Imbibing Peril — I believe the number this year is VI = 6, yes? — but have found myself reading two books in a row that would qualify nicely!

WHAT’s it ABOUT:  This story is from the viewpoint of a housemaid in service to Dr. Jekyll, eminent philanthropist and scientist in nineteenth century London. I have no idea what year exactly, but I have to assume pre-automobile. To anyone who knows the story of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, than I have told you all you need to know. If, however, you don’t know much about Jekyll & Hyde; well, that’s OK, too. You’ll figure it out.  I myself, didn’t know much; I have never read the original The Strange Case of __ by Robert Louis Stevenson nor seen any movies.

I liked it. A lot. Pacing was perfect, Mary was perfect, the fear factor low. I really don’t enjoy scary books and this wasn’t exactly scary, but it was tense in a good way.

RATING:  Four slices of pie. Strawberry Pie, since strawberries were mentioned as the good doctor’s favorite. But it would have to be a two-crust cooked strawberry pie not one of those pretty glazed ones – Oh YES, with Rhubarb!  Strawberry Rhubarb Pie; to give it a sweet – tart balance such as the personality/ies embodied by said ‘good’ doctor.

I really want to see the movie now. Oddly enough, I was more than half way through when I started envisioning John Malkovich playing our Dr. Jekyll and even Julia Roberts effectively became Mary and yet not to the detriment of how it all played out.  Like I said; ODD. Very odd. I don’t think reviews were kind. Anyone seen it?

Also, the end of this book has an afterword that I most appreciated. Afterwords are good. It speculated on Mary’s use of language; very helpful.

Other REVIEWS:  See Fyrefly’s Awesome book blogger search.



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17 thoughts on “Mary Reilly

  1. I feel like this book would be wasted on me at the moment — I need to read the Stevenson book first! I only know anything about it from vague cultural references, and indeed I think I skipped reading it for a college class and went to a football game instead. #blush

    1. Now, I can respect that. I really don’t think it is hurt at all by not knowing the FULL TRUE DrJ&MrH details, really. In fact, it just might be helpful only to know ** SPOILERS?! that the Dr is good and the Mr is his evil internal twin personality. Not sure that spoils anything, really.

      But it reminds me that I bet the orig is easily available for free as ebook download. It’s GOTs to be that old, yes? I’ll go look RIGHT NOW.

      THANKS for visiting. I’ve been a bit self conscious with this new hair cut and no on even noticing even tho I’ve announced to the whole entire world on FB and twitter and here…

  2. I tried Mary Reilly back when it first came out, but couldn’t get into it. Don’t remember why. I’d probably feel differently about it now.

    Kansas State. Hmmm. Must get a picture of myself in my Mizzou lounge wear.

    1. I think I had tried Mary Reilly last year, too. I am glad that I give myself more than one attempt to get into a book.

      and I would love to see you in a Tigger snuggie! ha

  3. I shall most definitely pick this up. I really liked Jekyll and Hyde, and I like re-imaginings/re-workings/whateveryouwannacallthems. Love the hair by the way! I wish I could go short, but I have a super round face and would end up looking like a giant ball-headed-person.

  4. I confess I hadn’t heard of this, although I know several Valerie Martin novels. I’ve heard she’s a wonderful writer and I’ve long wanted to give her a try. I will look out for this one specially now.

    Oh and your new haircut is adorable!

  5. Never read this one but I have seen the movie. Reviews of it definitely weren’t kind, but I think a lot of that was because reviewers had a hard time seeing Roberts as anything other than a romantic comedy lead. I wonder what they might have thought of the movie if she had been in Erin Brockovich first? I wasn’t wild about the movie but more because of Malkovich’s acting rather than anything that Roberts did wrong. He was just so much the same character he’s been in so many other roles.

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