Thursday, July 26, 2012

Falling For Hamlet by Michelle Ray

Written by Ari at 2:30 PM
Do You Agree? 
Falling For Hamlet by Michelle Ray
Pages: 348
Pub Date: July 5th, 2011
Author Website:
Synopsis (From Goodreads): 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.

Falling For Hamlet focuses on Ophelia's story through out Shakespeare's play. A common piece of literature studied among high school students it is refreshing to see a brilliant, modern-day rewrite of a rather difficult and sometimes dull play. As a high school student entering her junior year I recently had to recite lines, several times, in front of my English II Honors class. Throughout the months we spent dissecting the play a majority of the classroom never understood a word. In Falling For Hamlet, Michelle Ray manages to keep every original aspect of the story line-while incorporating one of the ever popular conspiracy theories, that Ophelia never died-and to create a story of Hamlet that is in fact almost relateable for the average teenager and easily understood. In Ray's Denmark our sweet prince and his clique all contact each other using cell phones. The duels are no longer with swords but rather lacrosse. Ophelia attends highschool with friends, meanwhile Hamlet and Horatio take part in fraternity life in college. Ray does a brilliant job of managing to take a sometimes rather confusing story and to weave it all into a story that makes sense. Hamlet and Ophelia are not rather forbidden lovers who act in ways that we only see in Shakespeare's plays, but rather two teenagers going through the ups and downs of relationships. Even as a reader who understands the minimum for Hamlet this story kept me wanting more. The plot seems new and original with all the unique and aboslutely perfect changes needed. Our couple seems far more believable than Shakespeare ever intended. Hamlet's uncle is certainly as dastardly as he was in the play, perhaps without the drama of Hamlet accusing him of attempting to bed Ophelia, shortly after suceeding in bedding and (supposedly) impregnating Gertrude. Even as our dear Hamlet goes mad we some how understand his pain. He seems not crazy, but rather upset and desperate. Ray manages to make us all fall in love with one of the classics that all of our high school english teachers managed to make us loathe. Ray's book is incredible, and a perfect supplement to reading Hamlet itself.
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