HAMLET by John Marsden

HAMLET

Age Range: 14 & up

KIRKUS REVIEW

To be or not to be considered a worthy heir to the Bard’s work, that is the question. Marsden, best known for The Tomorrow Series, refashions Hamlet into an angst-filled story that follows the broad strokes of Shakespeare’s plot but cuts and changes much of the detail. This Hamlet is genuinely disturbed: He spies on Ophelia as well as a masturbating kitchen boy, then mutilates small animals. Sexual frustration drives him, yet the author downplays Hamlet’s obsession with his mother’s sex life. Shakespeare’s language is skillfully reworked into contemporary speech and is pared to essentials; sadly, though, most nuance is also pared away. Ophelia becomes Hamlet’s less-intelligent reflection (beautiful, white-haired, thwarted and crazy) while Horatio does even less than his antecedent. While the robust language and anachronisms (Hamlet wears jeans) feel fresh, there’s a distressing lack of depth; teens looking for greater understanding of Shakespeare’s work or for a unique spin will turn away from the unsympathetic characters with little sense of catharsis, fulfillment or understanding. Ultimately, this lacks any antic disposition. (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-7636-4451-2
Page count: 240pp
Publisher: Candlewick
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15th, 2009




MORE BY JOHN MARSDEN

ChildrenWHILE I LIVE by John Marsden
by John Marsden
ChildrenOUT OF TIME by John Marsden
by John Marsden
ChildrenTHE RABBITS by John Marsden
by John Marsden

SIMILAR BOOKS SUGGESTED BY OUR CRITICS:

ChildrenA WOUNDED NAME by Dot Hutchison
by Dot Hutchison
ChildrenSTILL STAR-CROSSED by Melinda Taub
by Melinda Taub