Monday, October 10, 2016

NetGalley Review: Manga Classics: The Scarlet Letter

A powerful tale of forbidden love, shame, and revenge comes to life in Manga Classics: The Scarlet Letter. Faithfully adapted by Crystal Chan from the original novel, this new edition features stunning artwork by SunNeko Lee (Manga Classics: Les Miserables) which will give old and new readers alike a fresh insight into the Nathaniel Hawthorne's tragic saga of Puritan America. Manga Classics editions feature classic stories, faithfully adapted and illustrated in manga style, and available in both hardcover and softcover editions. Proudly presented by UDON Entertainment and Morpheus Publishing.

My Review:

First, ever since I read it in high school, I've loved the Scarlet Letter. Loved. It. Wrote poems about it. Read my poems to the class, who all snapped (in any other class, I might have been mocked but hey, AP English at my school was very supportive). So I was really really hoping this book would be good.

And while it wasn't really bad, I would never recommend it as a substitute for the actual book, even if you're reading the actual book on SparkNotes with their English Translation Feature (as I may or may not have in high school, which may or may not be the reason I so adore this book once I understood what I was reading). There are a lot of good things about this iteration of Hawthorne's tale.

For example, there's a lot to be said for making various expressions and personalities visible with a graphic novel. Manga has the ability to open up the world, so the reader doesn't get caught up in the common trap of only seeing Hester and Pearl in the bookiverse, unless otherwise noted.

But the Symbolism--Oh My Goooood the symbolism. There is SO much of it in the Scarlet Letter, and I appreciate the effort, but some of my favorites were just not in there. Like the rosebush beside the prison door. A passing reference by Pearl, and nothing more. That's not to say that Hawthorne didn't get a bit in-your-face with symbolism sometimes, but hey. I would have sprung for that extra star if at least all the important red things (the rosebush, some of Pearl's dress, the symbol in the sky, etc) were colored, and not just the letter.

Overall, if you just want to get a feel for the story, or understand what the big deal is in Easy A, then yeah. Go ahead. Read this, it's great. But to truly appreciate Hawthorne shoving symbolism down your throat, you need to read the words. 


No comments:

Post a Comment