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Book Review

‘William Shakespeare’s Star Wars’

7/10/2013

BookCourtesy of Beaverdale Books

Review by Shirley Shiffler

Quirk Books

July 2, 2013

$14.95

174 pages

What would happen if one of our greatest writers joined forces with one of the most popular movies ever? The answer is “William Shakespeare’s Star Wars.”

This last year has brought us several lighthearted books demonstrating the ongoing popularity of “Star Wars,” including current bestsellers “Vader’s Little Princess,” “Darth Vader and Son” and “Star Wars Origami.” Joining these is a fun new book by Ian Doescher, an ambitious effort to present the story by George Lucas in iambic pentameter.

I first picked this up knowing that I would enjoy it but also with the idea that it would be a great way to introduce Shakespeare’s style to my middle-school-aged son and his friends. After reading it, I hope other teachers and parents might think so as well. Many kids know the story well enough not be intimidated by some of the archaic language of Shakespeare’s era.

I do not claim to be a Shakespearean scholar, but I smiled (OK, laughed out loud) every time I came across a line I recognized from one of the original plays — “Alas, poor stormtrooper, I knew ye not,” (Luke speaking to an empty stormtrooper helmet) and “Friends, rebels, starfighters, lend me your ears.” Then there were familiar lines from the movie, adapted to the bard’s voice — the introduction, “In time so long ago begins our play, In star-crossed galaxy far, far away” and a directive by Obi-wan Kenobi, “True it is, that those art not the droids for which thou searchst.” Of course, the book had to end with, “There let our heroes rest free from attack, till darkness rise and empire striketh back.” The author does not neglect R2D2’s squeaks, whistles, beeps and whirrs nor Chewbacca’s howls.

Have fun with this book and, as the book entreats, “May the verse be with you!” CV               

Shirley Shiffler is an Urbandale native, Drake graduate and now lives in Beaverdale.                  

Barmuda