Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Much Ado About Nothing (A Shakespearen Retelling) | C.E. Wilson


Shakespeare’s work features some of the most memorable stories and characters ever created, yet for too many curious readers the combination of ultra-dense dialogue and unfamiliar historical settings make tackling the Bard’s work something between a tedious chore and a confusing mess of bird-bolts and quondam carpet-mongers.

While it’s nearly impossible to replicate or improve on these works, it is (thanks to their timeless nature) possible to make them more accessible to a wider audience.In this Young Adult retelling of one of William Shakespeare’s most iconic plays, join C.E. Wilson as she breathes new life into Much Ado About Nothing, the first in her series Shakespeare for Everyone Else.

Two couples.

Clark and Heaven.

Beatriz and Bennett.

After years of friendship Clark decides that his senior year is the time to finally profess his love to his long-time crush Heaven; a sweet and simple girl who her father knows to be loyal, trustworthy and caring. She returns Clark’s love because, like him, she has also seen her feelings blossom over time. Theirs is a cute love that differs a bit from the other couple in the play.

Beatriz and Bennett at first glance seem to want nothing to do with the other. Every conversation, every remark is a withering attack which reveals their lost history and similarities. It’s not long before their friends hatch a plan to set them up because everyone is convinced they still love and care for one another. Will either of them be able to resist the strong attraction between them?

As these two couples try to make it through their senior year, their friend Donnie does what he can to keep the group happy. The problem lies in Donnie’s half-brother Jason who wants nothing more than to spoil the fun – even at the cost of Heaven’s reputation.

When both couples are pushed to the limits, whose love will endure?
Find out in this modern retelling of Shakespeare’s memorable play Much Ado About Nothing.

While this didn't have the best writing, or the best storyline (which obviously isn't the author's fault), it fulfilled the goal of making Shakespeare interesting. Upon finishing this book, I ordered the original Shakespearean work.

In order to review this book in the best possible way, I'm separating the storyline of the original play, which I'll go more into after reading the Shakespearean play, from the actual writing of this retelling. While I love that I could see the in bred Shakespeare within the writing, stories and plays are written differently for a reason. When reading a play, all we really have is the dialogue within the characters. But when reading a story we can emphasize setting, plot, subtle character personalities. There are more areas to work with and to convey a story. 

Things that may have worked in the original play, don't really work as much in story-form. In order to add a little personal touch to it, the author could have worked with the setting or time period to create a more believable setting. She could have played around with the characters a bit more in order to give them a bit more personality. 

Again, even though it wasn't perfect, I really really liked the premise of it. Personally, I know that Shakespeare is a bit hard to read, so having it in a simpler form really gives me incentive to read the original text while still being to understand what's going on.