The novels in the Hogarth Shakespeare series are retelling of Shakespeare’s most famous dramas and comedies.
New Boy by Tracy Chevalier takes inspiration by the Tragedy of Othello, here setted in the playground of an USA suburban primary school in the 1970
Osei (called also O) is the son of a diplomat from Ghana, and for this reason his family moves frequently. Osei is used in being the new boy in every school, the only children who does not now anybody and that has to settle himself.
In this new school all the children are white, so Osei is new and different. The only girl who behaves friendly with him is Dee, and the two become friends. Othello’s story has not an happy ending, and here it will be Ian to destroy the relation between O and Dee.
New Boy is a faithful retelling of the original drama, but with the addition of another thematic:the friendship – and love – between O and Dee is not accepted for the racist mentality that is common in that area (both in adults and children).
I was not convinced by the choice to have a single day timespan (an extremely long school day with lessons alternating with playground time) and the choice of characters being children (age about 10 – 11 years). In some moments the difference between the events (dialogues and emotions) and the character’s age makes the story unreal and not very much engaging.
Thanks to the publisher for providing me the copy necessary to write this review.
* New Boy by Tracy Chevalier ★★☆☆☆½
*I read this book in english