Hamlet's Dresser (Paperback)

A Memoir

By Bob Smith

Scribner, 9780684852706, 288pp.

Publication Date: February 1, 2003

Other Editions of This Title:
Hardcover (4/1/2002)
Audio Cassette (4/1/2003)
MP3 CD (2/1/2003)
Audio Cassette (1/1/2003)

List Price: 16.00*
* Individual store prices may vary.


The true story of a boy whose life was saved by literature, Hamlet's Dresser is a portrait of a person made whole by art. Bob Smith's childhood was a fragile and lonely one, spent largely caring for his handicapped sister, Carolyn. But at age ten, his local librarian gave him a copy of Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice, and it transformed him. In Bob's first look at Shakespeare's penetrating language -- "In sooth I know not why I am so sad" -- he had found a window through which to view the world. Years later, when the American Shakespeare Festival moved into Stratford and Smith was hired as Hamlet's dresser, his life's passion took shape.
Blending tragedy and comedy, Smith gracefully weaves together his childhood memories with his experiences backstage and teaching the plays. The result is a gorgeous, tender, infectious book about the restorative powers of literature and art.

Praise For Hamlet's Dresser: A Memoir

Connie Ogle The Miami Herald Smith has wrought something precious: a reminder that the pure beauty of the English language can be a salvation.

Book-of-the-Month Club Hamlet's Dresser is touching, mesmerizing, intelligent, poetic, fascinating, and beautiful -- you will love it.

Chicago Tribune Smith depicts characters so vividly and orchestrates their interactions so poignantly that the memoir would work if Shakespeare were absent. His presence makes the book more moving still.

Frank McCourt Hamlet's Dresser is a masterpiece. That's all there is to it.

Toronto Globe and Mail That words have a healing power may be a cliché for some, but in this intimate, often wryly funny memoir, their ability to transform lives is demonstrable.