Bingo Square: Remix
I was a bit hesitant when this showed up as one of my Kindle Deals but was seduced by the “Now a Major Motion Picture” sentence on the cover, especially when I realized that Daisy Ridley was the one playing Ophelia. Personally, I’ve always thought it would be fun to write/read a novel in which Juliet had not died and instead survived the double suicide to go on to have a successful and happy life. Ophelia, unfortunately, never captured my imagination that much, but obviously Klein saw the potential. The reader knows from the beginning that Ophelia survives since the novel begins with a letter from Horatio to Ophelia, reporting Hamlet’s death and the take over of Denmark by Fortinbras.
After that, the novel traces Ophelia and her family’s life at the court, her father’s slow ascent to favor, her interactions with the teenage Hamlet as a child, and her eventual integration into the queen’s close circle as one of her ladies in waiting. Ophelia starts a tomboy who becomes a bit of a healer, learning about herbs and medicines. Ophelia’s life story eventually meets up with the timeline of Shakespeare’s play, as she watches Hamlet’s plan for revenge unveil itself. While she knows of his plan, she quickly can’t tell how much of Hamlet’s madness is playacting and how much real, leading her to despair about their love story.
While I quite liked the creativeness behind this different view of Hamlet, I was also slightly bored. Klein included lines from the play as the dialogue or at least sentences that seemed like they could have been, and while I appreciated how it was worked in, I also felt like it made the language too stilted within the context of the narration. The other problem is that I never really bought the Hamlet/Ophelia love story – she had better chemistry with Horatio, possibly because this were all fresh scenes and didn’t have to make the play work within this context. Basically, it definitely leaned a bit too much into the dramatic teenager aspect of Ophelia and moody emo college student of Hamlet too much for me to enjoy this.
Bingo Square: Remix