Disclaimer: Reviewing NetGalley eARC
I think I read this as a teen, though all I remember of the classic novel is that it was kind of tedious. This format does a good job of making it more accessible. There're notes at the end that talk about the adaptation and how some of the symbolism is captured with visual imagery, and that did seem to add a lot, though it seems that maybe the original message of the book got watered down somewhat. Generally appealing artwork, probably would have rated it higher if I appreciated the story more. :/
I read this book in school. I wasn't crazy about it then, but it was a little better the second time. I honestly don't remember much about when I read it in school or the discussions about meanings that we probably had. I still got bored some, but Pearl kept me more interested this time. I like the way everyone else's crap doesn't seem to get Pearl down. She's a strong character.
*I received a free copy of this book from the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.*
Overall Rating: 4 out of 5
I was first interested in this book, because I’m starting to branch out to reading more manga and I wanted to see how a classic story like The Scarlet Letter would translate to a manga. Overall, I think it’s a huge success. The story itself stays true to the original and the overall main points are still hit, which was a concern of mine when I started it. The pictures are beautifully done, and while I think there were a few too many panels of the priest “clutching his chest,” overall, it works out to be a quick read for a classic, captivating story.
Its strength really lies in how the novel is written in the first place. Hawthorne is someone who likes to be wordy and include a lot of description that is able to simply be shown in the drawings — no need to worry about five pages of foliage, when the foliage is right there in the pictures; it cuts down a lot on the slog and lets the reader focus on the story and characters in general. For people who don’t find Hawthorne’s style to be engaging, but who might like this overall story, reading Manga Classics would be a great way for them to be introduced to this story.
I can also see this as an amazing addition in the classroom, since it can be used as a tool for lower-level readers or those who have a problem with reading a lot of words stay engaged with the story and be able to participate in overall discussions on theme, characters, etc. It can also be used in a lesson where students can compare different story-telling formats and analyze the differences of manga versus prose. What are the strengths and weaknesses of each? Which do they personally prefer? Tons of possible lessons if you introduce a book like this to your classroom.
The Manga Classics version of The Scarlet Letter is a great read and definitely something to check out if you have a struggling reader who wants a bit of help getting through the story, or even if you just want to experience this story in a new format. Very well done — I recommend it.