Title: The Total Tragedy of a Girl Named Hamlet
Author: Erin Dionne
Publishing Date: January 7th 2010
Genre: Middle Grade Realistic Fiction
Series: Stand Alone
Hamlet Kennedy just wants to be your average, happy, vanilla eighth grader. But with Shakespearean scholar parents who dress in Elizabethan regalia and generally go about in public as if it were the sixteenth century, that’s not terribly easy. It gets worse when they decide that Hamlet’s genius seven year-old sister will attend middle school with her— and even worse when the Shakespeare project is announced and her sister is named the new math tutor. By the time an in-class recitation reveals that our heroine is an extraordinary Shakespearean actress, Hamlet can no longer hide from the fact that she—like her family—is anything but average. In a novel every bit as funny as her debut, Erin Dionne has created another eighth grader whose situation is utterly unique—but whose foibles and farces will resound with every girl currently suffering through middle school.
I have had my eye on this book for a while at my local bookstore. The title cracks me up and the cover looks fun. When I found it at my library I was elated and check it out to read. It was a really easy read but fun, cute, and humorous with just a smudge of emotional pull. It’s been a very long time since I have been in Middle School, but I can still remember the drama.
The story is about a girl named Hamlet, yes her parents named her Hamlet. Hamlet lives in a very abnormal family. Her parents are Shakespeare fanatics and her younger sister is a genius. The dinner table conversations do not include your average family topics. Hamlet is entering into her 8th grade year and finds out her sister who is 7, will be joining her. Hamlet is not very happy about this. Hamlet now has to try to fit in with a name like Hamlet, find her niche in school, and watch over her little sister who happens to be much smarter than the entire school. Somewhere in the disaster of her 8th grade year, Hamlet discovers she too has an extraordinary gift.
I really liked Hamlet. She was a very likeable character and easy to relate too. She was selfish at times, but what 8th grader isn’t. She was kooky, fun, and very colorful. I also liked her family of crazy characters and her friends. No one really stood out from the others, but everyone was important. The book is about Hamlet and her growth and I found it all very satisfying in the end. It was just fun and fresh. I quite enjoyed it and I am very happy I finally read the book with the great cover and interesting title.