Reviews tagging Medical content

Hamnet, by Maggie O'Farrell

34 reviews

beauvisseau's review against another edition

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

5.0

The prose is absolutely gorgeous, the characters are intricate and the plot is heartbreaking. One of the best audiobooks I have listened to. How the author managed to put the women in Shakespeare's life at the forefront, not even naming him, was amazing. The magical realism that the writer implemented was charming and fun. The jumps in time made me want to keep on reading, just like the great variation in chapter lengths did. A great representation of 'normal' lives with thematically intricate stories.

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bandysbooks's review

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challenging dark emotional mysterious reflective sad tense slow-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

Going into Hamnet, I was a bit skeptical. I love historical fiction and literary fiction, but something about it just didn't seem all that appealing to me. Finally, I broke down and decided to give it a try. I'm pretty happy that I did. I don't think this was perfect, but it was a good read.

This story follows Agnes (Anne) as she marries and then settles down with William Shakespeare. They have three children together, one of which dies due to the plague, and eventually becomes the inspiration for Hamlet. While William is in London writing plays, Agnes is grieving and trying to survive. The main focus of the story is really her grief and what she goes through after Hamnet's death. 

The writing in this was very lovely. I was surprised at how flowery it was considering the darkness of the content. It was an interesting contrast, but one that I think worked fairly well. 

The things that kept this from being a higher rating are as follows:
- The description was overdone at points. Others have mentioned this in great detail, but descriptions always come in sets of three. It wasn't simply good. It was magnificent, beautiful, and lovely. This can work when used sparingly, but it's repeated too much throughout the book. 
- Agnes is made into an almost-fae. She's sort of a wilderwoman who is at one with nature, makes herbal remedies, and intuits things before they happen. I suppose it was an attempt to make her standout, but it felt unnecessary. It gave me a bit of Mary Sue vibes initially because she's portrayed as innately better than the other women without much proof. 
-Shakespeare is never given a name. I found this to be an odd choice since I'm pretty sure 95% of the people reading this book understand it's about William Shakespeare's wife and children. I don't think it added to the narration by leaving his name out.

All in all, if you like historical fiction and have a particular interest in Shakespeare, you may enjoy this book. Just beware that it isn't written in straightforward narration. 



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niaaaaa'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? It's complicated

4.5


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evieolive's review

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

5.0

Truly one of the best things I've ever read, the characters and their experiences with grief were so painfully vivid

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bootsmom3's review against another edition

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challenging dark emotional hopeful reflective sad slow-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

4.0


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yooniereads's review against another edition

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challenging 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

5.0


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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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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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have_a_doris_day's review

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dark emotional reflective sad tense slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • 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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