Author: Michelle Ray
Published: 5 July 2011
Length: 369 pages
Warnings: : Sex, drink and drug references, violence
Summary : 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.
Review: Hamlet is one of Shakespeare's better known plays. Here, Michelle Ray brings it right up to date, setting it in modern day Denmark. Ophelia is Prince Hamlet's girlfriend, also daughter of the King's trusted advisors. Then the king is killed under suspicious circumstances and Hamlet slowly goes mad. Surrounded by the royal family and the press, Ophelia's options become more and more limited, and her life starts edging away from normality.
As Hamlet is one of my favourite Shakespeares, I couldn't wait to see how this would be put together. Michelle Ray has taken the major points of the play, and the best known speeches, and brought them up to date for modern readers.
In the author notes, she says how hard it was updating some parts, like the To Be or Not to Be. I agree with her in that it would be quite clunky if said aloud, and I like how she pulled it off in the end. Other speeches, such as Laertes' violet in the youth of primy nature one, were also modified but kept recognisable.
Ophelia has a new dimension built into her, as well as the crazy girl we see in the original. Having a book more devoted to her lets us explore her character more, which Michelle Ray has done very well. She has a group of friends outside the palace, and is also possibly falling a little in love with someone other than Hamlet. Horatio too we see a lot more of, as in this, he, Ophelia and Hamlet all have known eachother for a long time.
I love the way that some scenes were played out, for example the get thee to a nunnery one being played out in public in a limo. And there were some things I’d have never expected, such as the big scene in which the majority of the royal family is killed off, being played at a lacrosse match, which I didn’t think would work but somehow it did.
Overall: Strength 5 tea to a great retelling of one of my favourite stories. I really hope Michelle Ray retells another Shakespeare story.