Sunday, March 6, 2011

Review: The Shakespeare Manuscript by Stewart Buettner

The Shakespeare Manuscript-The Original Hamlet Discovered
Page Count: 163
Copyright: 2011

Book Summary:
(Taken from Amazon)

April Oliphant has a problem. An unusual manuscript of Shakespeare’s Hamlet has arrived in a crate of documents at her family-run antiquarian book store, all the more remarkable because none of Shakespeare’s plays survives in manuscript form today. She assumes the Hamlet manuscript has been sent by her father, who has gone to England on a buying trip. But he doesn’t remember a thing about the so-called original Hamlet because he’s lost his memory, in part the result of a violent mugging in London.

While he’s recovering, April sends the manuscript out for expert opinion. One of the people she contacts, the director of a failing New York Shakespeare company, is so convinced of the manuscript’s authenticity that he wants to stage this new version of Hamlet, and asks April, who secretly loves him, to play Ophelia to gain her consent for the production.

The more committed company members become to staging the previously unknown Shakespeare manuscript, the more committed they become as a company. In the end, they set about performing their passionate new Hamlet with singular and often moving consequences.

My Review:


Well, it's not the most exciting cover I've seen, but it does get the point of the book across.


I enjoyed the uniqueness of this book.  Yes, it was about a Shakespearean manuscript, but it was also about the drama that unfolded amongst the actors that were bringing that manuscript to life.  The interactions amongst the characters were well-written and thought out.

There were questions I had about the story that did not get answered.  However, I believe that lent an air of mystery to one of the main characters, which helped to make her who she was.


April, due to a tragic event, was scared to go outside of her apartment.  Because of love, she ventures out into the real world and slowly finds her place back in it.  She was slightly annoying and a little dramatic at times, but she was an actress so I suppose that was to be expected.

Miles is April's father.  He has traveled to London to obtain old documents from an estate and ends up getting mugged the night before he's due to fly back to America.  He's depicted as somewhat mean and abrasive by April, but ends up getting a slight personality change after an event in London.

Avery is the director of the actors and actresses practicing the Shakespearean play.  He is also April's love interest and her reason for venturing back out into the world.  He's older than her, but I believe it's what she needs.  I don't think she would've ventured out into the world with someone less worldly or experienced.


This is a fantastically written and unique story that I believe many people would enjoy.  I would recommend it to just about everyone.

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