Tuesday, October 25, 2011
Book Review: Falling for Hamlet by Michelle Ray
Author: Michelle Ray
Enjoyment Rating: 6/10
Referral: Janssen from Everyday Reading
Source: Kindle for iPad
Books I've read this year: 135
The premise of this book sounded so cool-- a modern-day update of Hamlet. Immediately my mind went to the screwballness of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are dead, and I was prepared to be delighted.
I think my expectations were too high. The book is part Oprah-style talk show, part police interrogation, and part recollection. It's told from the point of view of Ophelia (who faked her suicide in order to get away from the castle), and although the book claimed to be set in Denmark, it felt a lot more like Denmark was a city in Southern California, complete with pernicious paparazzi, and Ophelia was Claire Daines in My So-Called Life, and Hamlet was Jordan Catalano (which took place in Pennsylvania, but there's no paparazzi in Pennsylvania).
The relocation of the novel wasn't what made it problematic. And although I am totally okay with just about everything in a novel for adults, a YA novel where high school kids get drunk, do drugs and have sex bugs me, but that wasn't the main problem of the book for me. The main problem was when Ray tried to translate the soliloquies from Shakespeare's language into ours. Even though she talks in her afterword about how her readers kept encouraging her to rewrite them, I still don't think she gets it right. The book picked up speed in the last third, but the first two thirds of the novel were not that compelling, because from Ophelia's perspective, the first two-thirds of the book could be summarized by listening to Katy Perry's "Hot n Cold." The whole thing left me a little cold, personally.