Shylock Is My Name by Howard Jacobson
My rating: 1 of 5 stars
Let me just start out saying that I personally had a lot of problems with this book.
There are some misogynistic themes that greatly disturbed me and completely turned me off from reading this book. This book centers around an abusive father-daughter relationship and the way that the father was trying to act towards the daughter or completely control her was a pain to watch. I could definitively empathize with Beatrice and understand her motives in doing what she did. There were also lots of anti-Jewish themes that really bothered me personally because it's hard to see a character that's so deeply flawed and in my opinion an insane lunatic to downgrade his ethnic culture so much.
I wasn't engaged at all in the content, (i.e. I really didn't care to see what was going to happen next). Jacobson's word choice was very heavy and almost thick to get through. As someone who is ESL (English second language) there was some harder to define vocabulary that I just couldn't understand the meaning. So many times in this book did I express a strong desire to DNF, but I kept pushing on just for the sake of it.
It should be noted that I am not a fan of Shakespeare, nor am I familiar with the background of the play "The Merchant in Venice" so that definitively must have detracted from my reading experience. I was lost in the story because I didn't know what was going on, or what this author was even drawing a parallel to.
This book, this author just didn't work out for me. I was slightly grossed out by the focus of circumcision as the most important "plot point" or "conflict" in this book. It was just repetitive and unnecessary to the other parts of what the story was trying to convey (through Shylock's lectures/advice and Strulovitch monotonous internal monologues.) Overall, I think that I may have been better off without reading this book, and I don't think that I'll be continuing with the Hogarth Shakespeare series any further.
**Thanks to bloggingforbooks and the publisher for sending me a copy in exchange for my honest review.**
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