Book Reviews

Review: William Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Mean Girls

But soft, what book through yonder letterbox breaks? It is hilarious, and I had so much fun!


Book: William Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Mean Girls by Ian Doescher

Read before: No

Ownership: Review copy sent by publisher free of charge. All opinions my own.

Oh, this book is brilliant… You never knew you needed to see iconic pop culture movies turned into Shakespeare plays, but let me tell you, if you grew up with Mean Girls, and have any love of the Bard, you should read this. It’s just so clever! The story is translated into the classic five act structure, and I actually really enjoyed the author’s notes about how he chose to rearrange, cut or combine scenes to help it shift to the stage – the quick cuts of different settings can’t work on a static stage. It was interesting to try to see the similarities and differences, and I think where there were differences, it worked very cohesively to keep the plotline straight.

I thought it might be a bit gimmicky, and I’d get bored after a few speeches, but I found it really well written! The iambic verse all feels right as you’re reading it, and I loved spotting the famous bits of dialogue changed into Shakespearean phrasing. It felt like a little treasure hunt! It definitely helps to have a familiarity with the film, but it does a great job of showing enough to mean that you don’t need to watch it simultaneously to get what’s going – I haven’t seen the film for years, but found myself remembering almost all of it as I read through. The author explains that for each of the main female characters, he picked a corresponding Shakespeare heroine to model dialogue on, so there are extra Easter eggs if you’re familiar with those plays too.

This is the second book in the Pop Shakespeare series, so if you like the sound of this but don’t know Mean Girls, try William Shakespeare’s Get Thee Back to the Future. I can’t wait to see what the next films to be Shakespeared are going to be, because I definitely need to read them all! Great fun! Five out of five cats!

5 star


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