Last year I got into a pretty heated (twitter) argument with a lady about Shakespeare. My stance: Shakespeare is the root of all evil. Her’s? Shakespeare is the definition of love. Now, I could go on and on, stand proud and tall on my soap box and list the many reasons her statement is complete and total bull-crapology. But I have a feeling I’d only be opening up the flood gates (aka my comment section) to a pack of rabid Shakespeare fans, so instead… I’ll let Rebecca Serle (author of “When You Were Mine”) tell you. (So you can cyber stalk her instead.)
“Shakespeare got it wrong. His most famous work, and he completely missed the mark. You know the one I’m talking about. Star-crossed lovers. Ill-fated romance. Torn apart by family and circumstance. It’s the perfect love story. To have someone who loves you so much they would actually die for you.
But the thing people never remember about Romeo and Juliet is that it’s not a love story; it’s a drama. In fact, Romeo and Juliet isn’t even the original title of the play. It was called The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet. Tragedy. Everyone dies for this love that, in my opinion, wasn’t all that solid from the get-go. I mean, their families hated each other, so even if they did survive, every holiday and birthday until the end of time would be a royal pain. Not to mention that they had absolutely no friends in common, so forget double dates. No, it would be Romeo and Juliet all alone, forever. And maybe that seems romantic at fourteen, or whatever, but it’s totally not realistic. I mean, I can’t think of a less romantic ending to a story. And the truth is, it wasn’t supposed to end that way.”
Couldn’t have said it better myself.
“What’s in a name, Shakespeare? I’ll tell you: Everything.
Rosaline knows that she and Rob are destined to be together. Rose has been waiting for years for Rob to kiss her—and when he finally does, it’s perfect. But then Juliet moves back to town. Juliet, who used to be Rose’s best friend. Juliet, who now inexplicably hates her. Juliet, who is gorgeous, vindictive, and a little bit crazy…and who has set her sights on Rob. He doesn’t even stand a chance.
Rose is devastated over losing Rob to Juliet. This is not how the story was supposed to go. And when rumors start swirling about Juliet’s instability, her neediness, and her threats of suicide, Rose starts to fear not only for Rob’s heart, but also for his life. Because Shakespeare may have gotten the story wrong, but we all still know how it ends….”
One of the best things about literature is that it can surprise you. Sometimes you expect a book to be wonderful. It’s premise sounds wonderful, why wouldn’t the book be? Then you open it up and read, to (10 minutes later) feel like you stepped in a big pile of puppy poo. Other times, you give a book incredibly low expectations. The synopsis is predictable. The backbone of the story? Meh. So you set it to the side claiming you’ll read it later…when nothing better is on your plate.
That’s what I did to “When You Were Mine.” I got it in the mail. I read the cover. I showed my husband (who I should actually point out is NOT a reader) He read the cover and we both agreed. Put it on the shelf and move on. Then, a few days ago I realized that I HAD to read it. It wasn’t an option, I had people waiting for my unadulterated take on the Shakespearian throw-down, so I needed to suck it up and put my money where my mouth is (Or eyes to paper. Whatever…you get my point.)
Remember when I said sometimes you give a book (undeserving) low expectations? This is one of those times.
“When You Were Mine” is not the be all end all of books. I have read better. I have read worse. But what I’ve never read is a snarky teenage girls take on “The Greatest Love Story Ever Told.” More importantly, Rosaline’s take. Remember her? The OTHER girl in the story? The one that got her man high-jacked and then conveniently faded into the background while everyone else played a rather intense game of dagger Yahtzee? Yeah, that girl.
This is HER story. And, dang…it’s a pretty good one.
Not for nothing, but a few days ago, I could have given two rats who-haas about Rosie and her “need” to tell everyone what happened to HER ill-fated moment of ego smack down. As far as I was concerned Willie didn’t see fit to continue her story (or even give her more than a handful of shout outs) so why should I? You lost Rosie! Deal with it and move on (drama queen!) But by the time I reached the end of the book I was actually glad that someone decided to step outside of the box and give Rosaline her own voice. She deserved it! She was connected to BOTH of these overly-dramatic-slightly-psychotic individuals right? Chances are she was effected by their choices.
We ALL know how this story ends. It had been spoon fed to us since our infancy, and Serle doesn’t change that. (Thank the heavens, that was just asking for it.) What she does is take a story that we all know so well and add dimention to it. It’s not all about Romeo (or Rob in this instance) and Juliet’s eventual demise. It’s about what happens to ALL of the people around them. Their families. Their friends. And the people who were there first.
Fast moving plot. Interesting characters. Intriguing concept. Pleasurable read.
I don’t think it should be first on your TBR but it definitely shouldn’t be last either. In short… I LIKED IT!
Happy Reading my fellow Kindle-ites and remember: Hate the crime, not the criminal. (Yeah, I know it doesn’t really make sense for this book, but I heard it today and thought it was genius.) Happy Reading!
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A Chat With Rebecca Serle