Caris's Reviews > Falling for Hamlet

Falling for Hamlet by Michelle Ray
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's review
May 14, 12

bookshelves: 2012, shakespeare, young-adult
Read on April 27, 2012

This was one of the more interesting contemporary YA retellings of Shakespeare. Ray opted to set the original work in present time and allowed the plot to unfold as it would, a most wise decision. Of all the retellings I’ve read thus far, none have taken this route. Instead, they choose to rewrite the characters or make it quirky and fun, but only loosely based on the source material. I never got the impression that Ray was intimidated by Hamlet or that she was trying to dumb the play down. Her own interpretation is at least as convoluted and has a surprising amount of depth.

The reader experiences the story through Ophelia’s eyes. She is in love with Hamlet, but doesn’t feel the same way about his celebrity lifestyle, which she is drawn into involuntarily. In addition to having typical teen problems (parental disagreements, choosing between friends and boyfriend, etc.), she also has to contend with paparazzi, the seemingly guiltless adultery of the famous, and, of course, that whole murder thing.

It’s not a spoiler to say that Ophelia doesn’t die in this one. How could she? She’s the important one in this story, stealing the show away from the self-absorbed, moody prince. It was kind of relieving to watch through her eyes and see Hamlet painted as the mad one. I was worried when I started, because the title had me thinking I was embarking upon a romance. The cover art is misleading, though, as the “falling” in the title clearly refers to falling from grace and not falling in love.

The book wasn’t great, but it stands out amongst these adaptations. It probably would have gotten four stars (simply because Ray does well what she set out to do), but she lost one for the play-by-play football (or lacrosse or field hockey whatever) game at the end. Nobody wants to read that shit.
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Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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Caris The response to that particular plot point is spoiltastic, so I won't go into it. You want the book?

Caris It's really hard for me to say. All of these adaptations have annoyed me, but you and I aren't always bothered by the same things. If you've got more than a passing interest in reinterpretations of the plays, I'd reckon it's worth it. Glowing recommendation, eh?

Caris It's yours. I don't care if you use it for rolling crack-laced cigarettes.

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