Monday, January 31, 2011

The Total Tragedy of a Girl Named Hamlet by Erin Dionne

The Total Tragedy of a Girl Named HamletHamlet Kennedy in The Total Tragedy of a Girl Named Hamlet by Erin Dionne (Penguin - Dial) likes to stay under the radar. It's tricky when your name is Hamlet, your parents are flamboyant Shakespeare scholars and Elizabethan enthusiasts, and your little sister (Desdemona "Dezzie" the seven-year-old genius) is your new classmate.

Eighth grade brings Hamlet into the limelight in ways she didn't expect--two queen bees take a sudden interest in (bothering) her (sister), her ability to read Shakespeare with flair makes her the wonder of the eighth grade Shakespeare project, and someone is leaving cute but mysterious origami pigs for her. All she really wants is freedom from all the scrutiny.

Between parents who are not just involved but come with cloaks, a little sister who knows facts but not how to use them socially (and who's hitting that first horrible, embarrassing awareness of what she doesn't know), and the possibility that those cute notes are a big joke rather than gifts from a secret admirer, Hamlet thinks her life really stinks.

Charming, clever, about growing up and competing with your sister, about attention and how much of it we want, and has the best family fight makeup line ever:
"Honey, open up." Dad's voice came through. "We want to talk to you."
I didn't say anything.
"Please," Mom said. "We want to listen."
Mom's got it right, and if only we were all so thoughtful about what a girl wants. I liked the Shakespeare nods, and appreciated that it wasn't just one more "let's re-tell Shakespeare to give our story some structure" book.

1 comment:

  1. This sounds really cute. I'll be sure to look out for it the next time I'm at my library. Thanks for the review!


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