image

My review of Hamilton The Revolution told from two perspectives (ie the fangirl and the bookworm)

Okay so Bookworm first…

On my second reading of Hamilton The Revolution I fell in love with Jeremy McCarter’s narrative. Beyond the beautiful imagery and quotable text Mr. McCarter creates a wonderful story within a story vibe. This allows The Revolution to be told both from his perspective and Lin-Manuel Miranda’s. For reasons that I cannot fully explain this made me think of The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux. Regardless, the flow of The Revolution surprised me. Mr. McCarter frames each of Mr. Miranda’s beautiful scenes/songs with more than just informative background information he instead acts as MC setting up each scene with precision. Each song is in turn highlighted by Mr. Miranda’s various footnotes which give the reader an even more behind the scenes look at the how/why/when/ and where of it all. The overall effect left me with a dizzying omnipresent fly-on-the-wall feeling.

What was interesting to me, other than the interlocking narrative, libretto, and footnotes, were the design elements of the story being told. The selection of pull-quotes (which I initially thought would be distracting) were actually nice ways to underscore the tone or feeling of each chapter and were very well selected. The placement of photos was also well done adding rather than detracting from the story. Even the choice of page colors echoed the emotions specific to individuals or scenes. However, my favorite additions were the chapter names. While reading a book with numbered chapters is not impossible reading one with titled chapters is much more fun. I love the titles of The Revolution’s chapters as much as I loved the tiny illustrations at the beginning of each Harry Potter chapter (which is saying a lot).

I will also say that as a bibliophile this book is amazing to read. The cover and binding are surprisingly stunning, the actual pages have a lovely weight to them, and it opens flat (which I love in a hardback). I could go on but I won’t gush; let it suffice to say that while this 288 page monster of a book is heavy and all around sizeable I was happy to carry it around because I loved reading it.

Now for the Fangirl…

I ordered this book the day it was released on Amazon which it turned out was a huge mistake as I had to wait almost a month to receive it in the mail, but the wait was worth it. As most Hamilton Revolutionaries (and I am not sure if this is the official term for those of us obsessed with Hamilton An American Musical but it should be) I have scoured the internet for videos, pictures, and interviews, and therefore could not wait for another piece of the Hamilton puzzle. Enter the Hamiltome. It is everything you could have wanted, minus Mr. Miranda narrating the audio-book. The pictures are top quality and include both candid and professional shots. The interviews with collaborators, actors, and assorted Theater Greats are to die for. The footnotes are an insane inside view of the complicated genius that is Mr. Miranda’s brain, and the stage notes are fabulous additions to my own internally choreographed rendition of the play.

On my first read through I treated the Hamiltome like a Disney read-along (with record for those of you old enough to remember these). I read each chapter then listened to the corresponding song. It was a ridiculously fun way to absorb the narrative. It spotlighted tiny things which my mind had overlooked like the gasp in Satisfied, the violin cords under “Only nineteen but my mind is older”, and the fact that Hamilton sings “Hey! At least he was honest with our money!” in the Reynolds Pamphlet (in a funny yet sad plea for understanding).

There are so many great finds in Hamilton The Revolution whether you read it as a book, a read-along, or the latest Hamilton related item to be obsessed over. I have both devoured it over a weekend (in my first reading) and read it slowly (over a week in my second go-round). It is well written, has a wonderful pace to it making you want to read more, and has tidbits of information I have yet to hear via any other interview. The Hamiltome is in a word amazing, in two a must read! To steal a line “beg, steal, borrow, or barter” but read this book!

image

Advertisements