Caris's Reviews > Hamlet

Hamlet by John Marsden
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's review
Mar 14, 2012

it was ok
bookshelves: young-adult, shakespeare, 2012
Read in March, 2012

Have you ever wondered who Ophelia thinks about as she masturbates?

Me, neither. But now I know. I also know that Hamlet likes to watch old women bathe and well-endowed cooks pleasure themselves. And, oh yeah, he may enjoy torturing animals. Not important ones, mind you. Just chickens and the like.

I appreciate this book for what it is: a simplified, “I Melt With You” rendition of a somewhat difficult play. A story like this would be more appealing to high school students who might not be able to understand Shakespeare than the original. It is written at a much lower reading level and presents all of the major themes and actions with relative accuracy.

But it’s the shit that’s thrown in to make the characters look like regular teenagers that sinks this ship. You can’t paint Hamlet as a sheep-strangling, sexually-ambiguous fuckin’ Woody Allen character and not completely change the meanings behind his actions. I found myself wondering if Polonius really did eat it because he was in the wrong curtain at the wrong time. Or could it have been that he resembled a young gopher and Hamlet simply couldn’t help himself?

What Marsden should have done, if he was going to alter the character motivations to such a degree, was write a based-on-Hamlet book. Then he could have made Ophelia a coke whore and Gertrude a bus driver and no one would have given a shit.

Two thumbs up for the effort, but I lop one and a half of them off with a pair of garden shears for the cook with the abnormally large johnson.
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Comments (showing 1-11)

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message 11: by Esteban (new)

Esteban del Mal So? What does she think about?

message 10: by Paquita Maria (new)

Paquita Maria Sanchez Come on, Caris, the People want answers!

Caris Esteban wrote: "So? What does she think about?"


message 8: by karen (new)

karen shit. i like marsden, and i was hoping this would be good. booooo!

message 7: by Kaethe (new) - added it

Kaethe Ewww. I think I can give this a miss.

message 6: by [deleted user] (new)


Are you going to read the Orson Scot Card Hamlet? I hear everyone's motivations stem from a gay conspiracy, and Hamlet's dad (who is also named Hamlet, right?) is the bad guy. Sounds insane, really.

message 5: by Ian (new)

Ian Tregillis Isn't Hamlet's dad named "Hamlet's Father"? I only got as far as reading the title of the OSC thing, so maybe I missed some of the details.

message 4: by [deleted user] (new)

No, I meant in the original Hamlet; they have the same name, right?

I can't remember what the OSC thing is titled. I saw it at the library this week and I was thisclose to checking it out.

message 3: by j (new)

j funnily enough it is called Hamlet's Father.

message 2: by [deleted user] (new)

Huh. My brain must have known that somewhere.

I feel like I've just been part of a Who's on First style skit.

message 1: by Ian (new)

Ian Tregillis "I hear you're going to Denmark. Seems to me they give these Danish princes now-a-days very peculiar names."

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