Sarah Maddaford's Reviews > Falling for Hamlet

Falling for Hamlet by Michelle Ray
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's review
Jun 04, 2011

liked it
bookshelves: arc, modern, political, retelling, romance, young-adult

As a novel on its own, this worked fairly well. As a retelling of Hamlet, there were some rather glaring flaws and awkward parts. The story is from Ophelia's point-of-view in a modern Denmark where the tragedy has already occurred. She tells the story in three different ways: to a talk show audience, to the reader (to whom she says she is giving the complete truth) and to the police. This formatting of each chapter is weird in the beginning, but it actually flows fairly well once you get into the book. Unfortunately, in the actual play, Ophelia dies before everyone except her father yet she joins Horatio in escaping death in this book. It leads to some rather interesting assumptions on the part of the police, but other than that I can't really see the point other than providing a more divergent point of view. Horatio would basically have a very similar role today that he would have had in the play. Ophelia's role is extremely different having to play to the press as well as act like a proper lady for the queen and the court.
There were a couple things that didn't work for me at all. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern felt awkward in the extreme even in their assassinations. Switching fencing out for lacrosse was just odd (how would you not notice an altered lacrosse stick?). And how did Horatio fail to get a message to Laertes with all the random methods of communication available to him?
There was dying and violence a plenty, and I seem to recall the f-bomb. I would certainly be slinging it around if my mom married my father's brother even not knowing he had poisoned my father. There were definitely hints that neither Ophelia nor Hamlet were virgins, but I don't think there was actually any sex in the story.
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