Customer Reviews for

Ophelia

Average Rating 4.5
( 186 )
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(115)

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(49)

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(14)

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(6)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

12 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

An Unsuspecting Favorite

I honestly never thought that I'd read anything dealing with Shakespeare due to my own freewill. But here I am telling you that Lisa Klein's novel, Ophelia is quite possibly the best novel I've read in a long time. In high school, I always dreaded literature class whe...
I honestly never thought that I'd read anything dealing with Shakespeare due to my own freewill. But here I am telling you that Lisa Klein's novel, Ophelia is quite possibly the best novel I've read in a long time. In high school, I always dreaded literature class when we had to read Shakespeare. Maybe it was because back then almost every popular TV drama was based off of one or more of his plays or maybe I found that talking about problems was a much better solution that death. Who knows. All I know is that Lisa Klein blew a breath of life into of Shakespeare's most famous plays Hamlet, and I thank her for that. Everyone who has read Hamlet knows the story of Prince Hamlet and Ophelia, or at least they thought they did. No one knows for sure what really happened to Ophelia when she left her "rags to ruches" life behind. Lisa Klein retells Ophelia's story through the eyes of a young woman trying to find her place in a world of deceit. Ophelia's story begins when she was young. She had a somewhat simple life, at least in the beginning. Living right outside of Elsinore Castle where her life would change drastically and forever, she could never have imagined what fate had in store for her. Although Ophelia's curiosity-turned-affection towards Prince Hamlet started when she was young, she wasn't like most girls her age. She was curious, competitive and most of all a tomboy, which meant her meetings with the prince was often, even if they were short-lived. Ophelia knew nothing of the ways of love, the court or even where she belonged in the midst of it all. As she grew she became a lady in-waiting for Queen Gertrude, and soon became one of her favorites. Due to Ophelia's love of Latin and literature, they formed an almost mother-daughter bond reading "low brow" romance novels and discussing love and politics. At this moment you had a slight glimmer of hope for Ophelia's character. Now if this were any other story you'd think "Ok, everything's going to turn out alright" but then you get a reality check and remember that this story is based off of a Shakespearian play. At this point I was started to ask myself, "What trick is Klein trying to pull here? Is Ophelia going to deny her Shakespearian fate and live the life she had always wanted? Is that even possible?" Of course not, this is Shakespeare not Nicholas Sparks. In most tragedies the fate of a character determines if they took a chance to stand up to their enemy of not. When their conscious and passion would get the best of them they would make a decision that would ultimately change their lives, usually for the worse. Such was not exactly the case of Ophelia. She knew a dangerous secret but would this secret be enough to spare her life? This was the question that kept haunting me as I could see the disastrous trail of events for Ophelia and the inhabitants of Elsinore castle. Ophelia had it all at this point- the love of her life a prince even, Elsinore castle was her home and the Queen favored her. It seemed to me the more Prince Hamlet and Ophelia's love blossomed the closer destruction came. Although they met in secret, paranoia was working its way through Prince Hamlet and Ophelia's life. When their love evaporated quicker than it came Ophelia knew that she had to make a decision. She had to decide if she wanted work it out with Prince Hamlet or escape the castle she once called home. What would I do if I were in Ophelia's predicament?

posted by Bou on February 20, 2011

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Most Helpful Critical Review

2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

Ophelia

Most of us have read, if not at least heard of, the story of Hamlet. The danish prince's tale has captured the imagination of many, but what of the beautiful Ophelia? Where did she come from and why did she behave the way she did. Lisa Klein takes a look into the life o...
Most of us have read, if not at least heard of, the story of Hamlet. The danish prince's tale has captured the imagination of many, but what of the beautiful Ophelia? Where did she come from and why did she behave the way she did. Lisa Klein takes a look into the life of Ophelia before the start of Hamlet, and follows her through the tragic tale.

Ophelia's story is interesting, and Klein did a fantastic job of molding her story into the framework of Hamlet. But there was just something about her that I had a hard time connecting with for some reason. She seemed a bit one sided, always worrying, complaining, and enjoying the same things no matter what the circumstances were. I can see the places where the author tried to make her grow and develop into something more, but she always came up just a bit short....maybe that was the point?

The plot was were it really lost me. I know there is only so much freedom you have when you are working within another famous story, but there was much of Ophelia's life that was up to the imagination. Most of her story just seemed a bit cliche and overdone. I could almost swear I had read something almost exactly the same and that did turn me off quite a bit.

I don't want to turn anyone off from the book too much though. I don't think there was anything actually wrong with the story, writing style, or characters. And I have to admire the way the author was able to keep all the facts from Hamlet straight and fit it into Ophelia's story just right. It just wasn't a book for me.

3/5

posted by Jasmyn9 on June 24, 2011

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  • Posted April 22, 2011

    Absolute Agony (CAUTION-SOME SPOILERS)

    It's difficult to describe how very disappointed this book made me. The beginning was absolutely magnificent. The description of Ophelia's childhood at court was very interesting, and her secret love with Hamlet was so sweet I nearly broke out in tears. Hamlet and Ophelia had such wonderful chemistry and devotion to one another and it warmed my heart to read of it. But as soon as the late King's ghost appeared everything began to transform from blissful to irritating. Hamlet's madness was portrayed very well and was true to the play, but Ophelia was driving me insane. Rather than finding out exactly what was going on, she moaned and groaned that Hamlet no longer loved her, and within but mere chapters the love story that I had taken such great pleasure in fell to the ground in a heap as Ophelia took matters into her own hands. The entire middle of this story was lacking explanation and I groaned with a wanting for Ophelia to find out what was happening instead of freaking out. Suddenly she was independent, and decided to fake her drowning in order to protect herself from the malevolence in Denmark. I wished she would have just had courage and found out exactly what was happening to Hamlet. But no. Instead she cut of her hair and became a man, as if she were Mulan. This plot twist was so confusing I couldn't understand where the story could possibly be going. And when hearing from Horatio that Hamlet had declared to everyone his love for her, she cared for nothing but the fact that he and Laertes had fought and became angry that they didn't console each other. This being my favorite part of the play, I was unbelievably frustrated and angry with Ophelia for whining. And then we come to the third part of the book, Ophelia's life at the nunnery. This portion of the story was far too long! It kept going and going and going and left me wondering what the point was. Till finally the very last chapter, where she ended up with Horatio. This was the straw that broke the camel's back. I wanted to throw the book at the wall I was so angry! Ophelia and Hamlet had always been one of my favorite couples. I have always believed that they truly did love each other, but their love was lost in revenge. It was as if this book wanted to taunt me with it's sweet love scenes, passion, and romance, only to tear it to shreds through the betrayal of a best friend. If someone asked me if they should read this book I would say, "Sure, but just stop when Ophelia decides to fake her death." Honestly, it wasn't worth it.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 30, 2013

    I made it halfway

    I tried, I really did try, to finish it. I simply found it boring and slow. It's time for me to move on to another book.

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  • Posted December 14, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Could have been so much better

    When I first started reading this book I loved it. The chemistry between Hamlet and Ophelia was there and it was definitely interesting. It's a total different take on the play and an interesting view on the characters within. It was interesting how background information is provided (as how Ophelia and Hamlet met for the first time) and how they spent their childhood years. So although it does deviate from the original play it's not so much or goes too far out of context. For a while at least. The parts with Ophelia and Hamlet in love are well done. As mentioned before the chemistry is there and Hamlet stays true as there is definitely emotion and passion. I do have a problem with Ophelia later on. She becomes needy and really clingy. It got annoying and although there's lots of miscommunication between her and Hamlet, all she really had to do was ask him what the problem was instead of whining about it constantly and forgetting about it when he started to "act" normal. Hamlet did sort of reveal his agenda to Ophelia, but perhaps he didn't spell it out for her and she just assumed Hamlet stopped loving her altogether. For crying out loud Ophelia. You were raised like a tomboy and that sort of thing affected you when you could have just approached Hamlet and even punched him if you wanted to? That kind of contrast was a little too outrageous for me. I found Laertes different. I never really expected him to be quite the jerk portrayed in the book and always thought of him as an older brother who was protective towards Ophelia. I thought that was a little skewed. So, I have to say, the first half of the book was good. Despite some character flaws with Ophelia. The little twist with her finding out who really murdered the King was good, and her relationship with Gertrude proved interesting as well. However Gertrude also got moody, and whiny. It was as if the female characters just suddenly developed a syndrome to become this way all throughout the novel. Of all the characters in the book though, I really liked Horatio, he seems to be the only character that stays constant and true throughout the entire book without the severe personality changes. Now we get to the last half. I can't believe I actually went through with it too. I admit the alternate ending to Ophelia's fate was rather interesting but the story just went to a halt and started to crawl. There were pages and pages of Ophelia's time at a convent which did nothing to advance to plot and had me baffled as to wondering where this was going. It was borderline preachy as Ophelia tries to "find" herself while her time at the convent. I didn't care for this part. In fact I skimmed through most of it because it was extremely boring. I actually skimmed the last 50 or so pages until the very last few to see the outcome of Ophelia. I rather figured it would end up that way, as the book slightly hinted at it. It was satisfactory, but reading dozens of boring pages isn't worth it. Also the theme of revenge is just so overdone in this book. Sure, it's the main theme, but it's just so overplayed and over exaggerated it makes the emotion fake.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 21, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted June 28, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 17, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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