Spoiled teen Hamilton Prince finds out that his dad was murdered by his uncle, who just married his mom. Sound familiar? Horatio tells the tale in Something Rotten.
1. A modern retelling of Hamlet, which wins points for me. (Although not every modernization is classic…remember the Romeo and Juliet rap? “Modern does not necessarily mean “rap”, teachers.)
2. Denmark, Tennessee is the new setting. Old money in a small town down south. Rosencratz and Guildenstern drive a Charger that plays “Dixie” as a horn.
3. All of the major scenes from the play are in the book, although mixed in order. “To be or not to be…” is discussed over XBOX and the polluted river means even more danger for environmental activist Olivia/Ophelia.
Not to Be
1. Horatio Wilkes is modeled in the same style of a Raymond Chandler hardboiled detective. Fun stuff, but sometimes his one-liners are kinda cheesy. It doesn’t detract too much from the storyline, but students may not get all of the jokes.
2. Quotes from the play show up throughout, which is great. I feel like I appreciate it more, though, since I read Hamlet first and then read the book. Tough to call which order for students to read the two in.
All in all a fun read. I think that even if the students don’t get the references it stands on its own as an intriguing murder mystery. When taken as a straight-up story, the events are crazy. When taken as an allusion, it only adds to the fun.