Friday, March 9, 2018

New Boy: William Shakespeare's Othello Retold by Tracy Chevalier

More info*
Publication date: 2017
Publisher: Hogarth Shakespeare
Pages: 209
My rating: 2 stars
Ages: 14+

Osei has been the new boy and the outsider at several schools across the world. Dee has never been anywhere but the DC suburb where she has grown up. When the two meet on the playground on O's first day, there is an instant interest in each other. But it's the 1970s and the rest of the school isn't ready for a black student.

When I came to realize that the entire book was going to take place over just one day, I felt like that was unbelievable. For everything to happen within an 8 hour time period, to have a character completely change the way Osei did, it seemed too exaggerated. Then as I continued to read, I started to feel a strange discomfort--something that I can't put into words--and while I think that that discomfort was probably purposeful, it made it so I dreaded reading it and wanted it to end. There was something about the kids and the adult way they acted or thought, the adult things they did, that was really uncomfortable to me.

I've always liked the play Othello--I think it's an intriguing look at how a good person can be manipulated into becoming a bad person. Iago is that whispering devil on Othello's shoulder, saying just the right thing to make Othello doubt Desdemona. But they also had a history with each other. Ian, Osei, Dee, Casper . . . there was no history between them. Osei had been the new boy before; he'd been the black boy, he'd experienced prejudice and he had borne it all. Why was this time any different? I couldn't see Ian being that good at pushing anyone over the edge the way he did to Osei.

There was some sexual references and one swear.

*I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

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