Review Blog

Jan 03 2013

Exposure by Mal Peet

cover image

Walker, 2012. Pbk. ISBN 9781406340914.
For decades, writers and teachers alike have tried to find accessible ways of teaching Shakespeare to high school students. Over the years, the Bard's work has been translated into graphic novels, prose and short story form, and of course deconstructed with York's Notes.
Here we find an approach which manages to explore the themes and ideas within Shakespeare's plays, but retain a modernistic approach. Mal Peet's Exposure takes one of Shakespeare's lesser known plays, Othello, to a modern setting, and in doing so creates a fathomable and more accessible guide to the play.
Peet is clever in utilizing theatrical writing and elements of play format to establish characters and situations for the reader. This approach may also ease students into the form of playwriting.
While this traditional style can be found in the novel (for another example, each part of the book is labelled as ACT 1, 2, 3... ), the story-telling oozes with a gritty, urban mood and a lingo to match. The prose is hard-hitting, powerful and frequently moving, delving into mature territory which many YA authors leave untouched.
The dialogue is dramatic and the social commentary scathing - Exposure is a book crackling with intensity, wit and drama, which finds a voice speaking the truth of Shakespeare's work and the truth of our own times.
Henry Vaughan (Student)

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