Thursday, July 05, 2007
Enter Three Witches
Cooney, Caroline. 2007. Enter Three Witches.
Double, double, toil and trouble;
Fire burn, and cauldron bubble.
Act IV, Scene I
Caroline B. Cooney's latest novel, Enter Three Witches, is rich with Shakespeare. Told from the point of view of a young girl, Mary, the reader gets a new perspective of the ever-required play MacBeth.
I don't know about you. And I certainly can't speak universally, but I can tell you this. If you're in Texas, you read MacBeth in high school. I also remember being *introduced* (note how I did not say forced or subjected) to Julius Caesar and Romeo and Juliet. And as an English major, I had the pleasure of reading this particular Shakespeare play twice. (For a total of three times in my lifetime.) That being said, my memory is a bit fuzzy. Sure, I remember the witches. And I remember all the blood and murder. So I looked at Enter Three Witches as a mini-refresher for the play. Granted, I'd have to reread the play to see just how much Cooney takes liberties with it. But that's a task I'm not particularly willing to take on at this point. It's summer. I'm surrounded by stacks of brand new books...and the thought of tackling such a gruesome play. Not so appealing.
Back to Enter Three Witches. (I promise I can stay on task this time.) Mary is a young girl, a daughter of one of the characters who is accused of treason and executed. She had been "adopted" for a time by the Macbeth family and had been staying with them for quite a while when the book (and play) opens. We first meet her visiting and chatting with the servant girls/kitchen staff. Although Mary has not revealed it to another soul, she's been experiencing weird tingles in her thumbs. She's almost convinced it's a sign. A sign that only the three weird sisters could interpret. But everyone is scared of the witches, right? Yet her curiousity leads Mary to be in just the right place to overhear a prophecy--a deadly prophecy given to Macbeth. (The reader will notice that this happens to Mary a lot. She always happens to be in the background, the shadows, listening and watching as all the big drama happens.)
What can I say about Enter Three Witches? It blends original characters with classic Shakespeare characters. It quotes a bit of Shakespeare now and then. While it is told mainly through Mary's point of view, it also includes a bit of the young prince's point of view--Fleance. It is very dramatic. Of course it has its dark moments. Lots of blood. Lots of schemes. Lots of villains.