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The Total Tragedy of a Girl Named Hamlet by…

The Total Tragedy of a Girl Named Hamlet

by Erin Dionne

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Hamlet Kennedy’s eighth grade year is plagued by many things including: a genius seven-year old sister who will attend Hamlet’s middle school this year, geeky Shakespeare scholar parents, and now, a Shakespeare project for school.
  KilmerMSLibrary | Apr 30, 2013 |
Hamlet Kennedy just wants to be a normal 8th grader. That can be hard though when her parents dress likes people from shakespeare in public! She also has to deal with her seven year old sister who is a genius who goes to the same school. When a shakespeare project comes up she tried her best to not let her parents know. And while dealing with that she is also dealing with regular middle school drama. When a boy named KC, a boy that annoys Hamlet likes her but she likes a boy named Carter that barely knows her and her best guy friend Ty might likes her to or that are the rumors going around. She also has to deal with the meanest most popular girls in school. Will she make it through her last year of middle school?

I really enjoyed this book. I think others will to. I found it cool that she was able to figure out very problem with out breaking down and how she survived with her little sister in her grade. I recomend this book to anyone.
  Gabrielle.gdan1263 | May 29, 2012 |
All Hamlet Kennedy wants is to be a normal eighth grader. But with parents like hers - Shakespearean scholars who actually dress in Elizabethan regalia . . . in public! - it's not that easy. As if they weren't strange enough, her genius seven-year-old sister will be attending her middle school, and is named the new math tutor. Then, when the Shakespeare Project is announced, Hamlet reveals herself to be an amazing actress. Even though she wants to be average, Hamlet can no longer hide from the fact that she- like her family - is anything but ordinary. ( )
  robynr | Apr 23, 2012 |
Recommended Ages: Gr. 6-9

Plot Summary: Hamlet was looking forward to 8th grade because she and her friends would finally be the oldest in the school. But the school year starts off very differently than what she imagined. On the first day, Hamlet walks into school with her parents, who are dressed in full Shakespearian regalia, and her 7-year-old genius sister, who will be spending the morning at Howard Hoffer Junior High to prepare her socially for college. Hamlet is in charge of making sure Dezzie gets to all of her classes and isn't trampled in the hallways, which makes Hamlet almost late to her classes. Things get worse when Saber and Mauri become interested in Dezzie and Dezzie doesn't believe they are just using her for her Shakespeare knowledge to get a better grade in their class. Not to mention the rough time Hamlet is having with her friend Ty, who has been acting funny recently and who might like her. Then there is KC who makes Hamlet laugh, even though Hamlet likes Carter. And of course, to top it off, Hamlet's social studies and language arts teacher are working together on a Shakespeare unit, and while reading A Midsummer's Night Dream, Hamlet discovers she's not so average afterall--she is incredibly talented at making the characters come to life. She doesn't want her parents to know because she doesn't know how to feel about it, and she certainly doesn't want her parents to come talk to their class because they would just be too embarrassing.

Setting: outside of Boston (but could be any large junior high school)

Hamlet Kennedy - 8th grader, enjoys getting the little origami pigs in her locker but doesn't know who they're from
Desdemona Kennedy - 7 y/o, AKA Dezzie, very tiny because of her age, very motivated to learn, wants to be perfect and is disappointed when she isn't able to do the Pollack in art
Ty - Hamlet's best friend, the only person who is allowed at the Kennedy house when Hamlet's parents are there, doesn't like to greeted by Mrs. Kennedy because she does it strangely, starts acting really funny around Hamlet
Mr. Kennedy - Hamlet's dad, a little more relaxed about the Shakespeare at home stuff and is ok with ice cream and using contractions, has built four renditions of the Globe Theater and is very proud of them, professor of Shakespeare at nearby college
Mrs. Kennedy - Hamlet's mom, cooks meals from the 16th century, professor of Shakespeare at nearby college, criticizes Hamlet for using contractions
Saber Greene - mean girl, popular but only friend talked about is Mauri, leader, teases Hamlet a lot and says mean things to her, destroy Hamlet's father's globe theatre and Dezzie tries to glue it back together, ask Dezzie to go to the mall with her and Mauri
Mauri Lee - mean girl, BFF with Saber
Ely - Hamlet's friend, male
Judith - Hamlet's friend, goes away to summer camp for a long time, meet them at the ice cream place often, tells Hamlet that Ty likes her
Carter - boy who Hamlet has a crush on, very quiet and bland
KC Rails - class clown, might have ADHD, is funny, seems to always find Hamlet and make side comments to her, is the same group as Hamlet for extra math help
Mr. Symphony - pre-algrebra teacher, had the worst year ever in terms of his students succeeding, set up a new program to try to get his most promising students extra help
Mrs. Wimple - Hamlet's LA teacher, is collaborating with the social studies teacher to create a Shakespeare unit, is shocked when Hamlet is able to read and bring the character to life and encourages her to continue even when Hamlet is very upset by it, calls out Hamlet when Hamlet reads poorly
Dr. James Lefavre - school counselor, tells everyone to call him James, works with one of Hamlet's friends who really likes him, invites Hamlet to come talk but she doesn't feel comfortable talking about everything, offers her cards she can leave under his door and he'll come get her sometime that day, Hamlet uses the cards after her parents come to class
Ms. Grafton - parent volunteering to help tutor in math
Ms. Finch-Bean - art teacher, lets students choose their own seats Dezzie and Hamlet sit with Saber and Mauri, thinks she hears someone from the table calling her a jerk, but it was really Mauri calling Hamlet a jerk, no one tells her whats going on so she gets really mad and walks them to the principal's office

Recurring Themes: Shakespeare, genius, embarrassment, Globe Theatre, friendship, first crush, performing, Pollack, Salvador Dali, Midsummer's Night Dream, origami

Controversial Issues:
pg 55 jackass

Personal Thoughts: I really wanted to love this book, but I never quite got there. It's hard to figure out what I didn't like about it especially because I didn't hate it. It just seemed to go on too long, and the chapters interrupted some key moments, which then just skipped ahead. I didn't quite get into the growth of the character so I had a hard time sympathizing with her as she was going through all of her problems. It was impressive that she seemed to like her little sister even when Dezzie caused so many problems for her. In my opinion, the author told us how the characters felt instead of showing us how they felt.

Genre: realistic fiction

Pacing: slow
Frame: Shakespeare is explained well

Activity: ( )
  pigeonlover | Jan 12, 2012 |
Hamlet's little sister is a genius and her parents are true shakespearen people they also are Shakespeare professors. When Hamlet's little sister can't get into a college because she doesn't have enough extra curricular activities. So to get in these activities she has to go to school with her older sister Hamlet. Hamlet has always tried to fit in, but with her little sister she has been standing out lately. Not only does she have people taking advantage of her little sister, but she has to run her little sister all over the place. People are making fun of her and her friendship with her friends aren't going so well either. Hamlet has also found her new hidden talent. At first she isn't proud of her talent and is hiding it from her parents. Hamlet is also being put in a play, she is failing pre-algebra, and her whole world is getting turned around.
  AwesomeHannah | Jan 21, 2011 |
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To Mom, Dad, and Lindsay, who have always encouraged me to follow my passion.
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I hadn't figured out a way to stop time, join the circus, or make myself invisible.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0803732988, Hardcover)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:21:48 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

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.

» see all 2 descriptions

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