Recently I stumbled upon a debate on Breakfast TV discussing the relevance of William Shakespeare on the school syllabus and if his works should be replaced with something deemed more ‘modern’. Having studied both Drama and English Literature at GCSE & A-Level I am familiar with a large number of his plays and sonnets, all of which I absolutely adore. Therefore, after watching the piece I felt rather deponent at the prospect of my children potentially not having the same opportunity to learn about the world’s most famous playwright and his works.
Shakespeare may have died over 400 years ago, but in my opinion his work can’t be simply cast aside, especially when you consider the contribution his works had on both literature and the English language thanks to his creation of over 1700 words that we still utilise today. His stories are filled with messages about life and humanity including life & death and love & hate, all of which are still relevant today and will resonate with modern readers. His imaginative words and poetic language are beautifully combined to create stories that are a delight to read and speak and I personally love nothing more than rolling his words off my tongue, often find myself quoting his words without realising it!
So why am I telling you about my love of Shakespeare I hear you ask? Well as fate would have it shortly after seeing the debate on TV, I was sent two newly released books by best-selling author Ian Doescher which are part of a number of modern-day Shakespearean retellings he has created. Cleverly Ian has taken a whole host of popular film’s and given them a modern makeover using Shakespeare’s Elizabethan language, what a genius idea.
With an already successful Star Wars Shakespearean series his latest offerings are retellings of the much-loved iconic films Back To The Future and Mean Girls which happen to be two of my all-time favourites. Already familiar with the stories, Doescher’s writing has perfectly captured the essence of the films and magically transformed them into something Shakespeare himself would be proud of.
With classic lines including “On Wednesday We Array Ourselves In PInk” and “Art thou call’d Calvin Klein? For on thine underwear it is display’d” interspersed with beautifully drawn illustrations, these books are ideal to help keep the Shakespearean style language alive for the younger generation and I will certainly be devouring them time and again. There’s plenty of hilarious asides that had me chuckling along and attracting plenty of strange looks from my family! These books are perfect for those wishing to reignite their childhood love of Shakespearean style language or for teenagers looking to ease themselves gently into exploring the language by using a familiar tale.
Thank you to Jamie-Lee Nardone from Quirk Books for sending me copies of these wonderful books and I really hope Ian has some more classic Shakespearean film retellings in the pipeline as these get a massive 5 stars from me!
About The Author
Ian Doescher is the New York Times best-selling author of the William Shakespeare’s Star Wars series. He holds a BA in music from Yale, an MDiv from Yale Divinity school and a PHD in theology from Union Seminary. A theologically trained social media specialist, he currently works for a marketing agency in Portland, Oregon.