Friday, December 18, 2009

Ophelia - by Lisa Klein

The Lowdown
Experience Hamlet in a completely new way by reading Lisa Klein's Ophelia.  Whether you know and love the Shakespeare play or not, this book is sure to please.  Beginning when Ophelia is just a young  girl, Klein shows us what it was like to grow up at court in Denmark's Elsinore.  Ophelia leaves her father and brother to tend and wait on Queen Gertrude.  While at court, she catches the eye and heart of the young, handsome, dark-haired Prince Hamlet.  They meet in secret and swear their love.  Can this love between them stay strong and keep them grounded, though, as Denmark rots all around them?  When Hamlet learns of his father's death and sees a ghost, he begins to focus on his own mind and not Ophelia.  We all think we know Ophelia.  She went made because her father died.  But that might not be the case...Read to hear this classic story finally from Ophelia's point of view. 

What I Liked
This is a real love story but it's not too overly romantic.  I loved watching the relationship between Hamlet and Ophelia develop and grow.  In the play, you don't get to focus on Ophelia too much because the character of Hamlet always takes center stage.  Here, though, the relationship blossoms before your eyes and you understand what these two characters were like together.  Ophelia is a smart girl, but she deals with many love issues just like kids today.  One night while reading with the Queen, the Queen tells Ophelia,
I think that she must be cruel if she wants to be loved....for once a lady succumbs to the man's desire, he rejects her as unworthy of it.
 Ophelia, hearing this, worries about the love she has shown her Prince.  She questions herself,
Because I showed my love to Hamlet, would his ardor diminish?  Was love like a hunger, easily satisfied by feeding?  Or did it grow by what it fed on?  Should I have withheld my kisses and thus increased his appetite for them?
 This book did a great job just showing what all the characters were going through.  Klein's story is believable and exciting.  I do know a lot about the play, so I also loved seeing lines in the book that I recognized from the play.

Read This If...
You want to hear what Ophelia has to say...finally!
You like classic love stories.
You like historical fiction.
You like making connections to the stuff you read (or have read) in English class!
You want to read a story about a kick-butt girl.

Grade:  A-

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