Review: Falling for Hamlet by Michelle Ray

Monday, August 22, 2011

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Author: Michelle Ray
Release Date: July 5th, 2011
Publisher: Little Brown
Age Group: Young Adult
Pages: 368
Source: ARC from Publisher (thanks so much!)
Challenge: Debut Author Challenge (hosted by the Story Siren)
Summary ( Meet Ophelia: a blonde, beautiful high-school senior and long-time girlfriend of Prince Hamlet of Denmark. Her life is dominated not only by her boyfriend's fame and his overbearing family, but also by the paparazzi who hound them wherever they go. As the devastatingly handsome Hamlet spirals into madness after the mysterious death of his father, the King, Ophelia rides out his crazy roller coaster life, and lives to tell about it. In live television interviews, of course.
Passion, romance, drama, humor, and tragedy intertwine in this compulsively readable debut novel, told by a strong-willed, modern-day Ophelia.
My Review:
Falling for Hamlet is a modern retelling of Shakespeare’s play Hamlet told from Ophelia’s point of view. I enjoyed Hamlet, but I adored this retelling. I read Hamlet for my AP Literature class, two years ago (and will be reading it again for my theater class this semester) so I’m familiar with the story, but you don’t need to be to like this novel. I don’t even think you need to like Hamlet to like this retelling. My friend hates the play, but I’m sure she will like Falling for Hamlet. What I liked best was that it was told from Ophelia’s point of view. In the play she’s vastly overlooked as just being Hamlet’s crazy, suicidal girlfriend. In Falling for Hamlet she’s neither crazy nor suicidal; she’s strong and has a sensible head. I think she does everything right; she makes the right decisions even if they are hard. It’s also quite interesting, as a fan of the original play, to see how Michelle Ray modernized all those famous speeches; my favorite was the way she conveyed the “To be or not to be” soliloquy of Hamlet’s (you’ll have to read it to know how she did it, I know unfair, but I don’t want to spoil it). I encourage you to give this a try!