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Falling for Hamlet: Review

Title: Falling for Hamlet
Author: Michelle Ray
Release Date: July 2011
Published By: Little Brown
Pages: 368
Goodreads Rating: 3.70 stars

Review: Ophelia is a beautiful high school senior and the long-time on and off girlfriend of Prince Hamlet of Denmark. They have enough to struggle with as it is, given his overbearing family and the crazy paparazzi, as well as their relationship problems. But it only all gets worse when Hamlet's father, the King dies, and Hamlet spirals into madness as he's convinced there was a murder plot. Ophelia rides out the roller coaster of events and lives to tell it - in live television interview.

I'm going to be a sophomore in high school and they haven't made us read Shakespeare yet, so I've never really been exposed to the original version of Hamlet - nor, for that matter, any retellings. Because of that, reading FALLING FOR HAMLET was an interesting experience and I found the plot completely fascinating, but I do feel like those who have enjoyed the original may not like this one as much because it's hard to not compare the two.

Now, being a modern retelling, a lot of details were changed to fit the proper time setting, such as adding televised news, paparazzi, etc. However, some events (I won't say which ones to avoid spoilers) that occurred in the original play and were reasonable in that time period happened in this book as well but felt quite odd and out of place. This was often rather jarring and took me out of the story from time to time.

I also had a hard time relating to Ophelia and the rest of the characters. Their circumstances were horrific and yet any emotion they felt was barely described. Because of this, I was interested in what was going to happen next but never truly felt completely invested in the story.

Although I realize this review has sounded somewhat negative, I do want to emphasize that I liked this book. It was very clever to include portions of both Ophelia's interrogation and her TV interview. I did wish that I could care more about the characters and that the story's transition to modern day was smoother, but I would still recommend this to anyone who loves retellings and/or hasn't been exposed to the original play.

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher for review. This in no way affected my review.


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