BY MINDI SCOTT
I’ve gone to Shakespeare in the Park at least once every summer for the past ten years or so, but I wouldn’t say that I have a ton ‘o Shakespeare knowledge. My high school sort of glossed over the whole literature thing. (Or maybe I was too busy not doing my homework to have learned All the Stuff?)
In any case, Falling for Hamlet by Michelle Ray, a modern retelling of Hamlet from Ophelia’s point of view, was completely off my radar, and would have stayed that way if a friend hadn’t recommended it.
I sure am glad that she did. Because you guys! I fell for Michelle Ray’s version of the character Hamlet! I fell hard. For about the first third of the book, I was in love with him. Desperately. In. Love. I wanted to kiss him and marry him and run away with him forever and ever. I understood why Ophelia was so wrapped up in him because SO WAS I. I stayed up late reading, fell asleep with the book beside me, and dreamed about Hamlet all night.
It isn’t like me to get like this. If I were to come across a wax figure of a certain actor who plays a sparkly vampire, I’d be more likely to make faces at him than embrace him. (And Michelle still speaks to me! Or maybe she didn’t know until now . . . ;-))
But there was something about this Hamlet. He was intense. He was silly. He was needy. He was romantic-ish. For some reason, that combination won me over and I was so very into him.
The next morning, I dove back into the book immediately when I woke up. That’s when horrible things started happening and Hamlet started to scare me. By the end of the story, after seeing how much Ophelia had lost because of her love for Hamlet and her involvement in his family, I was relieved that it all happened to her and not to me.
Phew! I’m lucky to have averted all that, right? But I also feel lucky because I will always have the memory of those hours that I was able to spend with him before he was driven mad and started killing everyone. Oh, Hamlet! xoxo