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Ó, Júlia! (2010)

by Robin Maxwell(Favorite Author)
3.6 of 5 Votes: 1
review 1: As much as I wanted to, I couldn't really feel for Maxwell's Romeo and Juliet. I still much prefer Shakespeare's version even though it's more unlikely and crazy. The verses she added were at times beautiful (from Dante) and awkward (I assume her own). Her development of the supervillin Jacobo who has absolutely no redeeming qualities and creates hell for the couple at all turns was not believable. The fact that he can force murders, set fires, intercept communications, and break up a reconciliation desired by two families is not easy to believe. The circumstances and fate in Shakespeare were much more tragic than the malicious intent in this novel. It was beautiful to let Romeo and Juliet speak one more time, but not a novel idea as she says in her interview at the ... moreend of the novel. This was just okay for me.
review 2: I'm going to assume that everyone on this blog knows the story of Romeo and Juliet, which was well known even before Shakespeare wrote his immortal version. In fact, most of ya'll have probably seen it performed - a high school version, trip with a class, or at least the Zeferelli and/or Baz Luhrmann versions. Robin Maxwell sets her version in pre-Renaissance Florence and gives her Romeo and Juliet a passion for poetry and an age-up. I'm kind of sad it isn't set directly in the Renaissance, since they'd without a doubt be writing sonnets. And R&J go with sonnets like peanut butter goes with jelly. Just look at their first lines together in Shakespeare: ROMEO [To JULIET.] 93 If I profane with my unworthiest hand 94 This holy shrine, the gentle sin is this: 95 My lips, two blushing pilgrims, ready stand 96 To smooth that rough touch with a tender kiss. JULIET 97 Good pilgrim, you do wrong your hand too much, 98 Which mannerly devotion shows in this; 99 For saints have hands that pilgrims' hands do touch, 100 And palm to palm is holy palmers' kiss. ROMEO 101 Have not saints lips, and holy palmers too? JULIET 102 Ay, pilgrim, lips that they must use in prayer. ROMEO 103 O, then, dear saint, let lips do what hands do; 104 They pray — grant thou, lest faith turn to despair. JULIET 105 Saints do not move, though grant for prayers' sake. ROMEO 106 Then move not, while my prayer's effect I take.I enjoyed tracking where Maxwell truly made the story her own. She gave Juliet a best friend in Lucrezia Tornbuoni, right before Lucrezia became one of the most powerful women of the age by marrying into the de'Medici family. She rolled Tybalt and Mercutio together to create Marco, a cousin who supports R&J's risky affair. She develops the feud in detail, offering hope that O, JULIET may have a happy ending. I liked seeing her flesh out R&J, who too often come across as callow teenagers. It's not just that she makes them the appropriate age for marriage in the new setting, but that she explores their passions outside of each other.However, few other characters receive a fuller characterization from Maxwell's men. Jacopo Strozzi, Juliet's fiance, goes from a non-offensive obstacle to a mustache-twirling villain. His threat to castrate Romeo was perfect to me since I just finished reading THE LETTERS OF ABELARD AND HELOISE, but other than that he seemed like he would fit in better tying Juliet to train tracks in a silent film. (He would, of course, say Romeo tied her to those tracks.)There's a lot of purple prose on display, but I think it works. It's the most famous love story of our time, as well as for a few centuries before our time. Tristan and Isolde faded from pop culture awareness, but not R&J. Plus, the rhythm of the language is a good match for the poetry R&J share with each other. It makes sense that they would narrate in the same idiom.I enjoyed O, JULIET. It hit the right buttons on my romantic side. It's not going to replace Shakespeare, but it's a good choice for a rainy day. You might even learn a little history - Maxwell did her research. less
Reviews (see all)
Even though I knew the ending, the story took me in and was a delightful read.
The story of Romeo and Juliet as told by Juliet--- cute read, romantic
It was okay, a quick read, but not tremendously satisfying.
An interesting take on the classic love story...
2.5 stars.
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