Macbeth: 2013

Source: Author Website
Exposure (Twisted Lit #2) by Kim Askew & Amy Helmes (Merit Press, 2013, 224pp.)

In the second installment of the “Twisted Lit” series, Shakespeare’s Macbeth is relocated from medieval Scotland to a modern-day high school in Anchorage, Alaska. Wallflower Skye Kingston, photographer for the school newspaper, is content to quietly crush on her friend, Craig MacKenzie, one of the populars and a member of the hockey team. It’s all she can do, really, since he’s already been claimed by Beth, one of East Anchorage High’s most imposing Queen Bees. Skye’s life takes a turning point when she attends a wild, off-campus party where Duncan Shaw, the hockey team’s captain, meets an unfortunate end. (The meaning of the title— “Exposure”—will become evident when the reader finds out how he died.) For most of the high school, Duncan’s death is shrouded in mystery, but three students alone know the truth—Craig and Beth, who perpetrated the deed, and Skye, who overhears their frantic conversation after the event takes place. Skye tries to be supportive with Craig, but he becomes increasingly hostile with her and others. Should Skye stay loyal to her friend and keep her silence, or should she go to the police?

I have to admit, at first glance, I was a bit mystified as to how the authors would manage to follow-up their first novel, the romantic comedy Tempesutous, with a novel based on a classic tragedy filled with violence, suicide, greed, and murder. However, Exposure manages to provide an interesting variation of its origin story without being too glib or too dark. In the original play, Macbeth, the Thane of Glamis and servant to King Duncan, is confronted by three witches, who predict that he will soon be king. When it turns out that this won't happen in the near future, his ambitious wife, Lady Macbeth, decides to speed things along, and goads her husband into murdering Duncan while the royal party spends the night at their house. In Exposure, the death turns out to be accidental, and happens entirely off-screen. As for the three witches, they make a sort of cameo appearance as Skye’s friends, a trio of teens of Yup’ik (Eskimo) descent who are making tribal masks for a school project. As they explain:
“Our ancestors were Yup’ik people... One of their traditions was to carve masks like these for ritual dances. The masks were embodiments of a spiritual vision, and they were said to imbue the wearer with the spirit they represented.” (22)
Overall, a solid, teen-friendly version of Shakespeare’s tragedy. In fact, I think I actually like Exposure more than Tempestuous. I am definitely interested in seeing what else this series has to offer. Recommended for Ages 15-17 for Language.

Comments

  1. Great review! I have bookmarked you and will remain in line with your new posts. keep writing and give informative post!

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