Monday, August 5, 2013

ARC Book Review: A Wounded Name by Dot Hutchison

Title: A Wounded Name
Author: Dot Hutchison
Publisher: Lerner Publishing
Release Date: September 1st, 2013
Rating: 1/5

Cover Impressions: 
Very pretty.  I love how she is leaping into the water, rather than falling as is common in a lot of YA covers. 

The Gist:
A re-telling of Shakespeare's Hamlet through the eyes of Ophelia.

I have been seriously procrastinating on writing this review.  THis is a direct result of the annoyance I felt while reading this book.  I chose A Wounded Name as one of the books to read while I was staying with my parents, preparing for my wedding.  I was hoping for a book to drag me away and give me a moment of to of respite from the insanity of wedding planning.  However, A Wounded Name ended up being the ONLY book I read because reading another page was the LAST thing that I wanted to do.  Bring on the crazy relatives, just don't make me read any more of Ophelia's tortured world!

A Wounded Name has the distinction of being the only book I can recall reading in which I hated ALL of the characters.  Every. Single. One.  I realize that this follows the plot of Hamlet pretty damn closely, but I could have done with some characterization to at least make one of two people appealing.  Dane is an ass.  Ophelia has no spine whatsoever.  Her brother and father are duel control freaks and, frankly, the character the reader is meant to truly hate, is the only one who behaves decently throughout the whole book!

The relationships in this novel are creepy at best, downright scary at worst.  Ophelia appears to have feelings for Dane but never takes any control and allows herself to be lead wherever he wishes.  Where he wishes, also tends to include physical abuse, which she endures in order to show her love.  THE FUCK OPHELIA??? She is constantly hiding the bruises, engaging in dangerous activities at his behest and making excuses for his actions.  Speaking of bruises - the author is OBSESSED!  Nearly every page mentions actual bruises, past bruises, bruise colored objects and on and on and on.  It has gotten to the point where I will never again be able to read that word without cringing inwardly. 

Ophelia's relationship with her father and brother is not much more healthy than that with Dane.  Both men are incredibly controlling and treat Ophelia like an invalid.  The family also seems to be distant and uncaring, while overly familiar with each other's private lives.  At one point, Ophelia describes her brother's sexual activities in a way that made me want to call child services. 

To compound on the horrible characters, there was a great deal of confusion about the time frame.  There are modern conveniences, such as cell phones, but antiquated ideas about women's roles.  The females are the school are raised to be obedient wives and the administration fights against any suggestion that they should change.  The language also got more and more annoying as the book went on.  I was looking for a re-telling of a Shakespearean masterpiece, but that doesn't mean I wanted to read someone else's version of Shakespearean language.  Every time the teens started speaking this way, it immediately jolted me from the story and made me question the author's choices.

A Wounded Name is merely a butchered classic that fell far short of expectations.  I do not think I will be anxiously awaiting any more of Hutchison's books.   

Teaching/Parental Notes:

16 and up
Sex: Kissing, Sex among teenagers
Violence: Physical Abuse, Gunplay, Poisoning
Inappropriate Language: Whore, Prick, Bastard, Crude language regarding sex and masturbation
Substance Use/Abuse: Underage Drinking, Smoking


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