The Total Tragedy of A Girl Named Hamlet

The Total Tragedy of A Girl Named Hamlet

Book - 2010
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Hamlet's attempts to be a "normal" eighth grader become increasingly difficult when her genius seven-year-old sister and her eccentric Shakespeare scholar parents both begin to attend her school.
Publisher: New York : Dial Books for Young Readers, c2010
ISBN: 9780803735354
0803735359
9780803732988
0803732988
Characteristics: 290 p. ; 22 cm

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FindingJane Mar 07, 2017

Hamlet is in eighth grade. Unfortunately, so is her seven-year-old sister Desdemona. Desdemona is a prodigy, a MENSA-type genius who scored 210 in an IQ test when she was only two. So she can’t go to grade school like the other kids her age…which places her squarely in Hamlet’s school and classes. Hamlet also has parents who are completely outré, being avid Shakespearean scholars and rabid fans of all things Bard. Her father makes a hobby of repeatedly re-creating the Globe Theater in miniature while her mother comes to school in Ren Faire costumes and refuses to speak in contractions.

Hamlet is one of those teenagers who desperately want to fit into their peer groups. She doesn’t want to be exceptional because that will make her a target for kids who will dub her as being a weird, geeky, nerdy social loser. But she doesn’t want to be invisible, either. She wants the other kids to like her or at least not pick on her. She’s in middle school and she just wants to make it through without being ostracized as a weird-o.

The fact that she already has friends is no consolation not when it means that popular kids make fun of her. She hates the fact that her little sister’s high I.Q. and adult way of speaking make Desdemona stand out as being DIFFERENT—and, by association, make Hamlet noticeable in the wrong way, too. Hamlet’s parents get tangled up in her high school woes and Hamlet figuratively dies of embarrassment.

The eternal struggle to stand out or conform is presented in a solid, believable fashion. We understand Hamlet’s desperate urge to get through school without being bullied and her struggle to accept her little sister and be fair to her, even as she succumbs to puerile annoyance when Desdemona’s behavior inadvertently makes scholastic existence more difficult for her older sister.

The novel also emphasizes the inescapable impact of the Bard himself. Hamlet is adept at reading his words and the book is riddled with Shakespearean quotes, puns and insults. Hamlet also imagines her life as being played in scenes like a Shakespearean play (although not in Elizabeth language). It slyly introduces YA readers to the joys of the Bard without being heavy handed about it.

Hamlet is a realistic character and the others in the book are just as interesting—yes, even little Desdemona. The writer does an excellent job of putting us in Hamlet’s shoes. It’s a spot-on portrayal of teenage angst from the viewpoint of someone who’s been blessed—or cursed—with a terrific talent and a terrible name.

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lilyliao321
Aug 23, 2016

This book is so heartwarming and touching, it brought tears to my eyes. I totally understand what Hamlet feels like! The book inspires readers to know that it's okay to be different from average. Uniqueness is a gift, not a curse. Tied in with a Shakespearean theme, this novel is definitely a must-read!

o
obliviun
Jul 28, 2012

I found this book really predictable, especially the part about the origami pigs. I was really annoyed that Hamlet didn't realize who sent it. I also didn't like any of the personalities of the main characters. Dezzie is a brat. Her parents are too blind to see what's happening. And Hamlet freaks out when she's good at something, she acts as if it's the worst thing in the world.

r
RieRie
Sep 17, 2011

I loved this book! Hamlet is faced with many typical middle school problems, and is just so mad at everyone at one point.I think it truly represents some of the stuff that can happen in middle school.
Great book!! :D :D

a
arimir_13
Aug 19, 2011

All about shakpeare, and smsart kids :P

k
KM16
Jul 02, 2011

This is a hilarious and heartwarming tale of a 8th grade girl who are Elizabethian scholars ( and dress like it to) and whose little sister is a genius. It is best for girls in middle school.

d
Dramatical_Cats
Jun 29, 2010

Wow! This book caught my eye in a Schoolastic order that my sister brought home. I ordered it online and recived quickly. I loved this book so much. Dionne totally creates the bestlife of a girl named Hamlet. All through the book Hamlet runs into all kinds of trouble with her genius sister, her teachers and her parents. Even her crush. I hope you enjoy this hillarious book as much as I did.

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blue_horse_1151
Jun 25, 2015

blue_horse_1151 thinks this title is suitable for 10 years and over

blue_butterfly_3653 thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 10 and 15

Red_Cat_1422 May 11, 2013

Red_Cat_1422 thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 10 and 14

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violet_rabbit_531
Sep 18, 2012

violet_rabbit_531 thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 10 and 13

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choco1357
Aug 14, 2012

choco1357 thinks this title is suitable for 9 years and over

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RieRie
Sep 17, 2011

RieRie thinks this title is suitable for 10 years and over

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Lili_Szabo
Feb 05, 2011

Lili_Szabo thinks this title is suitable for 11 years and over

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