Sunday, April 19, 2009

The Dead Fathers Club - by Matt Haig

I love Shakespeare and am always interested to read new versions and reimaginings of Shakespeare's classic stories.  The Dead Father's Club is a modern day Hamlet and it was pretty good.  

The main character is a young boy named Philip Noble.  Philip's dad was killed in a single car accident.  Losing a parent is bad enough, but after his father's funeral, Philip is visited by his father's ghost.  Philip's father tells him that he was murdered by Philip's Uncle Alan, and that Philip must murder Alan in order for his father's ghost to move on and escape "the terrors."  The Dead Fathers Club is the story of what Philip decides to do about his Uncle.

One feature of this book that makes it different is the narration.  The book is narrated from Philip's point of view and has no punctuation except for periods at the ends of sentences.  The voice reminded me of The Curious Incident of the Dog at Night Time.  

I enjoyed this version of the Hamlet story, but at times, I lost interest.  I didn't get overly angry with characters or emotionally moved to feel for them much, even Philip, who is the main victim in the story.  The way he contemplates what he has to do is very different than the real Hamlet (who is in his twenties).  I just didn't get into this book that much.  I would recommend it to people who know the Hamlet story and who want to read a new version of the tale.  If you liked Curious Incident, you might also like the voice in this book.

Grade:  C

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