Tuesday, 20 April 2021

Juliet's Answer

Finished April 8
Juliet's Answer by Glenn Dixon

This memoir captures just over a year in Dixon's life, one where he made choices that changed the trajectory of his life. He had heard about an organization in Verona, Italy called the Club Di Giulietta, that had taken on the task of responding to the thousands of letters sent to Juliet. The majority of these letters were about relationships, and they arrived in many different languages from all over the world. 
Glenn had been teaching Shakespeare to high school students in Canada for two decades and had managed to get permission to view the near-perfect second quarto of the play Romeo and Juliet at the British Library on his way to Verona. He had arranged to volunteer during the summer holidays at the Club, answering some of the letters. 
Glenn's story gives background on his life, both as a teacher and his personal life, falling for a woman who only sees him as a friend. 
Near the end of his summer in Verona, he writes his own letter to Juliet, looking for guidance on approaching this woman one more time given that they are both single and unattached. 
The book takes us through the next year of his life, showing him teaching the play Romeo and Juliet to a high school class, with the interactions between him and the students, and how their personalities come into their reactions to the play. It also shows him making the decision to start a new phase of his life, and to begin that, at the end of the school year, he arranges to return to Verona and volunteer as one of "Juliet's secretaries" once again.
There is a simple map of Verona showing the points of interest related to his time there, and a section of photographs as well. 
This is a story of reflection and self examination as Glenn evaluates his life and makes the choice to move in a new direction. 
He gives interesting information on Verona and its relationship to the story of Romeo and Juliet and the other people he meets that run or are involved with the Club. I also found his teaching with the students as they worked their way through the play very interesting, taking their time and really thinking about what was happening and what it meant. 

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