Would You Burn This Book?

This is YOLO Juliet (by Brett Wright), a modern parody of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet in the form of text messages rampant with emojis. Personally, I found it to be quite entertaining. But I first heard about this book on Twitter, when Joe Hill retweeted someone’s comment saying they’ve never wanted to burn a book before:

The original tweet and commentary can be found here. The comments on this post range from enthusiastic agreement to those who find the book funny. I’m of the latter group. I’m not a die-hard Shakespeare fan (though I am starting a nice collection of old Pelican Classics), so I don’t take any offense to any parodies or remakes of his work. I’m not sure how serious these book burning commenters are, but it did get me thinking.

Would you burn this book? I can’t help but wonder if those people tweeting things like “by fire be purged” and “I want to gouge my eyes out with a fork” are exaggerating, and also missing the point of this book. It’s meant to be taken as a lighthearted retelling with a modern use of media. Let’s face it, emojis are all over the place right now – whether they last as a trend or not remains to be seen – so we might as well get used to them. I think they’re kind of funny, though I don’t use them myself. But I digress. The point is, are these people offended at the idea of a Shakespeare parody, or do they think younger generations will mistake this for the true source and somehow miss out on a great literary education? If the respect for classic literature, or any literature really, is dying out in younger generations (and I have no clue if it is), this book is not the root of the problem.

I was actually shocked at how many people agreed with Poems Porn’s sentiment because it feels to me more like they’re encouraging censorship, rather than simply choosing not to read books with silly emojis and modern slang. Maybe I’m reading too much into it!

At any rate, I rather enjoyed this little book and I will eventually own the set of them, Srsly Hamlet being another title. I’d love some sort of silly rendition of Pride and Prejudice – I really enjoyed Pride, Prejudice and Zombies! But what are your thoughts? Do you think the burning of any book is acceptable? If someone made a text message and emoji based parody of your favorite author’s book, would it send you into a tweeting rage, ready to curse the author to hell?

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