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The Shakespeare Stealer by Gary L. Blackwood
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's review
Jun 25, 2011

it was ok
bookshelves: childrens, history, library-school

At first glance, this novel would seem a fine middle-grade introduction to Shakespeare. And it would be, save for one massive omission: Shakespeare himself. This first novel in a series promises much, but delivers on very little. The orphaned Widge is forced to learn a kind of shorthand by his first master, and is soon bought by the manager of a second-rate acting company. Widge is next charged with an important task: copy Shakespeare’s Hamlet. A passive main character, Widge attempts to comply but quickly befriends Shakespeare’s players and is taken on as an apprentice. In the following story, there is every opportunity for Blackwood to humanize Shakespeare, but he instead makes the Bard a distant, pensive figure who scarcely factors into the plot. Blackwood has clearly done his research on Shakespeare’s life and times, but his stiff prose does little to make that world accessible to a modern audience.

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