Reviews tagging Physical abuse

Hamnet, by Maggie O'Farrell

63 reviews

taranim's review

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emotional reflective sad medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? No

4.75

I’ve read a good few books that deal with grief this year, but this might be the one that takes the biscuit.

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‘What is the word, Judith asks her mother, for someone who was a twin but is no longer a twin?’

Hamnet is an exquisitely lyrical and heartbreaking novel that imagines the events that led up to, and take place after, the death of William Shakespeare’s only son. Only we are never given the name of the man himself - he is always referred to as the Latin tutor, the husband, the father. This allows his family to shine, particularly his wife Agnes (known to history as Anne Hathaway). 

I loved this story. The writing was beautiful, and the differing perspectives in the novel flowed rather than taking away from or slowing the narrative. Mind you, it is not a quick read by any means, but it’s not supposed to be. It is a study of characters, of complex family dynamics, of illness, and of grief. I was particularly fascinated by the relationship between Hamnet and his twin Judith, and by the way the novel explored each parent’s reaction to the loss of their child. 

The only reason that I didn’t give it a 5-star review is because, while the writing was beautiful, I felt at times it was a tad overwritten. There were moments that could have benefited from a simpler phrase, a less detailed metaphor. It didn’t take away from my enjoyment of the story however so it is only a small thing.

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helena_sp_07's review against another edition

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challenging emotional inspiring reflective medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

5.0


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lissybeth91's review

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hopeful inspiring reflective sad medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated

5.0

Not to be a massive Shakespeare fan-girl on main, but oh my goodness. Oh my gracious. Oh my goodness gracious me. This is a beautiful book. It has been messing with my sleep schedule for the past week, and I have no regrets. 

Most of the reviews I've seen focus on the fact that Shakespeare's name is never used in this book, so as someone who has had a massive crush on the man for the past decade (I know I'm pathetic), I was worried that this book would be some sort of anti-Shax manifesto about how he was a horrible family man. But if you've had the same fear, rest assured... O'Farrell's characterization of him is by far the best I've ever seen. It truly felt like she knows the same man I do, and that was a beautiful thing. 

But enough about him. Every single character is written with such sensitivity and real "humanity" that I feel as if I have lived in Stratford with them my whole life. I love every single one of them. Well. Okay, there are two that I hate, but even those two are written with understanding and grace. Beyond the characters, the words themselves are lyrical and stunning.

Read. This. Book 

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sib_reads's review against another edition

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emotional sad slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? No
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

3.0


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mapscitiesandsongs's review

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challenging dark emotional mysterious reflective sad slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

3.0

I enjoyed my reading experience overall, but I have one major problem with it: It's not really about Hamnet. I went into this book thinking the majority of the book would be either in Hamnet's POV or would, at least, be about Hamnet. Instead I got a book that's basically about his mother Agnes, which isn't a bad thing per se. It was really interesting seeing her get to know Shakespeare and her inner thoughts were quite intriguing, but I imagined something different from a book titled Hamnet. I also don't think the origin of the play is that prominent in the story even though it's clearly stated in the description that this book is about Hamnet and how the play gets developed because of his death. Another strange thing is the incoporation of magical realism of some sort. Additionally, all of the characters, besides Agnes, were flat and one-dimensional. So when Hamnet dies, I just didn't care. There is no connection, because we only get to see him for a few short chapters before he dies and the rest is basically about his mother. The ending was also quite rushed and underwhelming in my opinion. We find out that Shakespeare wrote said play about his son (which we have know for the entirety of the book!) and then it just ends. 

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lenni_sc's review

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dark emotional reflective sad medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.0

Kein Buch was man in der Öffentlichkeit (oder in der Mittagspause auf der Arbeit) lesen sollte. Es sei denn man mag es, wenn Menschen einen mit Sorge anschauen, weil man nicht aufhören kann zu weinen.

Sehr emotionale Geschichte über Ängste, Verlust und die Leben, die weitergehen. Mir persönlich haben die Kapitel der Vorgeschichte besser gefallen und ich hätte gerne mehr über die Mutter von Agnes aus ihrer eigenen Perspektive erfahren. Gegen Ende hat mich die Langatmigkeit des Buches deswegen, wenn auch ein sehr geschickt eingesetztes Stilmittel, etwas gelangweilt. 

Overall ein sehr bewegendes Buch und eine Leseempfehlung an alle, die gerne Tränen vergießen.

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wrackcity's review

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emotional sad tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? No
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? N/A
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.0


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szinkle's review

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challenging emotional informative tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? N/A
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? No

4.25


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alomie's review

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dark emotional slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

3.5

This book had some really beautiful moments, and I especially liked the chapter about the flea that travels across oceans and brings the plauge with it.

Otherwise the book was okay, I was bored and ready for it to be over by the end of the book, nothing particularly wrong with it but I could have just done with less of it, by the end I was rushing through. 



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mmccombs's review against another edition

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challenging dark emotional reflective sad medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Plot

5.0

I felt chills as I read those final pages, this book was just as good as I hoped. This story felt so grounded in its time while also remaining so timeless and universal. A plague novel is obviously very fitting right now, this made me feel like time was folding in on itself to result in something doubly impactful. The writing was beautiful and every detail felt so well researched, I almost could see myself in the Henley street house, in Agnes’ garden, in the streets of Stratford. I absolutely loved everything about this, I understand the hype!

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