Sunday, November 27, 2011
Review - Ophelia by Lisa Klein
During one of my recent book buying escapades, I ran across a book about my favorite Shakespearean female. Ophelia, by Lisa Klein, is a fictional story about the tragic heroine. I was stoked about a Hamlet storyline told from Ophelia's point of view. So I picked up the book without reading the first few pages or knowing anything about the author. Besides, it was on sale. O.o
I love Ophelia; her passion and depth of love creates a strong character out of just a few pages of text. Her tragic end makes her memorable. She is timeless, romantic, beautiful, complex - all the things expected from a Shakespearean woman. And unrealistically, I stepped into the book Ophelia expecting the same literary strength and depth - a high bar I should not have set; there is only one Shakespeare.
This book was flat and disappointing. All the female characters were so stereo-typical it was almost insulting. And Ophelia herself was trivial; there was no strength in her re-envisioned character. Hamlet was a prat; Horatio was meek. The writing was dull and lacked any type of depth and realism. Everything fell way short in my opinion. The ending was horrific - I won't even go there. Nothing was developed, the take on the females themselves was too modern, and the love story aspect was shallow.
I did my research after finishing this book; I had to know why it was so bad and how anyone could have butchered a perfectly wonderful character like Ophelia in the first place. Apparently, this was a debut book for Klein and it was intended to be a Young Adult book. I can get behind a younger audience but only if it is targeted at girls who do not enjoy Shakespeare in general and Hamlet in particular.
I would not recommend this book and it receives a Brewed B FAIL. Maybe I expected too much given my love for the character but even as on overall read it was slow, predictable, and boring. Sad Shakespearean panda.