Book Title & Alexandra's Review

Shakespeare’s Secret by Elise Broach

5th Grade and Up
Shakespeare's Secret by Elise Broach Alexandra-Adlawan-Amazing Artists-Autism-Author

A missing diamond.

A 500-year-old necklace.

A mystery dating back to the time of William Shakespeare.

Named after a character from Shakespeare’s play, Much Ado About Nothing, misfit 6th grader Hero isn’t at all interested in this literary connection. But when an eccentric neighbor tells her that a million-dollar diamond might be hidden in her new house and that it could reveal something about Shakespeare’s true identity, Hero is determined to live up to her name and uncover the mystery.

My knowledge of Shakespeare isn’t exactly vast. I read ‘Romeo and Juliet’ in 9th grade and ‘Othello’ in 10th grade. I drew a comic book based on a scene from each story for homework assignments. Both stories were pretty good, just hard to understand. That’s the problem with Shakespeare. It’s not that the writing is bad, it’s just hard to understand because no one talks like that anymore. I find it hard to believe that anyone ever spoke like that.

I can kind of understand why Hero doesn’t like her own name. She mostly doesn’t like it because she gets teased because of it. At her new school, she gets teased immediately after someone makes one stupid comment, and the kids are relentless. I know I wouldn’t be able to handle it. Personally, I like her name. It’s more original than mine.

Anyone out there remember ‘Animaniacs’ short cartoon versions of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Hamlet, and MacBeth, where Yakko would recite Shakespeare while Dot would translate for those viewers, like Yakko, who have no idea what he’s saying. From what I can tell, they were pretty decent translations. I wish they had done a cartoon about ‘Much Ado about Nothing,’ mainly because I don’t know much about the play. I read a summary of the play on one of those Shakespeare cheat sheet websites. In simple terms, it’s a Shakespearean-styled romantic comedy. I’m not kidding. This play has all the makings of a 21st-century romantic comedy. It has two people falling in love, a bad guy who tries to ruin the couple’s happiness by making the girl seem unfaithful. While that’s happening, another couple who argues a lot somehow ends up together, and everything turns out ok in the end. Personally, it’s something I wouldn’t willingly read because I’m not into romantic comedies.

There are actually three mysteries in this story. 1) Who wrote the plays? 2) Where is the diamond hidden? 3) And another mystery squeezed in that you’ll have to read the book to find out.

Once again, I won’t say too much, so I don’t give away the mystery. But I will say this: do you see the diamond shape under the title, the one with the falcon wearing a crown and holding a scepter? It’s important. Also, check out the Author’s Note and the Historical Timeline at the end of the book to find out what’s fact and what’s fiction.

This week’s Weird but True Fact about William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare invented many new words and phrases, including “eyeball” and “in a pickle.”

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