Sunday, November 25, 2007

you may think you know how it ends...

Ophelia never was one of my favorite Shakespearean heroines (perhaps because my acting teachers were often suggesting i play her~and i was always a little partial to Juliet~ever since we first read the play in ninth grade English). I always saw Ophelia as a bit weak and victim-like~i suppose i'm not the only one~and named a cat i got after my other "tough" cat Tiny disappeared when a roommate let her out into a strange neighborhood (i saw the cat as somewhat weak~that cat later became my baby who no other cat~at first~would ever match and i never knew if i came to see the character of Ophelia differently because of the cat or because of a re-reading of Hamlet...)

Of course any re-writing of the master (and Hamlet always has been one of my favorite plays~i actually always wanted to play Hamlet) is going to leave a few detractors and there were definitely aspects of Lisa Fiedler's Dating Hamlet: Ophelia's Story that left me none too happy (i.e. certain changes to Polonius and the gravedigger~but what can you do really?) Ophelia isn't quite the strong, feminist character you might hope for (she was still quite head over heels for Hamlet~but she is a teenager after all~also living in eleventh century Denmark) but she can definitely hold her own (and even has some career aspirations~maybe she is a bit of a feminist after all...~i mean she does act for herself, what more is there?). She does manage quite a few of the behind-the-scenes plot machinations for herself and you can also see why there might be a bit of a real romance for her and the Danish prince (he's not quite as wishy-washy as some have played him, either.) Some stuff that i was thinking sounded a bit like another Shakespeare plot was explained slightly (if a bit too cutely, pertly, patly, etc) at the end.

All in all, a quick (and isn't that what most of us want from a young adult novel, anyway?) breezy, enjoyable read (especially if you're a fan of the bard).

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