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Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, US & Canada Ed. Paperback – December 3, 2007
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Top Customer Reviews
The Verdict? The book was really spellbinding. The plot twists kept me guessing and I was anxious for the next page - and there was some lively humor in there too. It had a rich Gothic mood, like Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, yet was thrilling and a fast read. And unlike some 19th century stories, the book is not a chore for the modern reader.
I hope the movie can match up!
It's a movie tie-in book, but something that emphasized the fact that the story is actually called "A String of Pearls" would've been lovely. When I first saw this book in the fiction section, I wasn't quite sure: is this one of those cheesy movie adaptations that I always try to avoid?
Fortunately, it wasn't.
I'm sure that there's some disappointed people out there. It seems to be human nature these days to only go for the familiar -- deviations from the comfort zone in the realm of entertainment is rarely accepted. This book really has very little in common with the movie. Of course, as the introduction explains, the musical was based on another theatrical version of the story -- but, knowing how many people I've been acquainted with react, they would absolutely hate this.
Can I deal with trickery to get them to read a classic? Maybe.
Despite the lack of the book's title on the cover and over-emphasizing the movie tie-in, I do enjoy the edition. If only it were available in hardcover.
The introduction is a great history of Sweeney. I know the author wrote an extensive history of Sweeney Todd, but after reading that introduction, I'm not sure if I would want to read more. It seems that all I wanted to know was included in that introduction.
As for the annotations, I wish they were not in the back of the book. It's such a chore to go back that many pages when the bottom of the page would've worked just as well -- most of these annotations aren't so long that they wouldn't fit in a quarter page or less. I do disagree with the other reviewer on these annotations. Despite the sound, most of the annotations are rather helpful to the modern reader.Read more ›
I do have a few problems with this edition, though. First, the book's title is "The String of Pearls"; this edition calls it "Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street" (presumably to capitalize on the musical's success). Also, the back cover and the introduction give away almost any surprise there might have been in the book for those not familiar with the story. If you do not already know the whole plot of the book, I suggest you avoid reading the introduction or back cover until you have finished the novel.
Finally, I found the edition's use of annotations rather annoying. These are indicated with an asterisk (*) in the text and are given in the back of the book. Some of them are absolutely asinine. For example, on page 148, "Hamlet's grave-digger" is annotated as follows: "a reference to Hamlet's exchange with the gravedigger in Hamlet." Thank you, Captain Obvious. Or, for the line "his month is up today, and I must get rid of him," the editor tells us, "Oakley has obviously engaged Sam to work in his shop as a mere employee, and for a trial period." For "cacchinatory", we have, "i.e. cachinnatory"; "tip-top" is given as "excellent"; and fortunately we are notified that "Madagascar" is an "island located off the south-eastern coast of Africa."
Not that the idea of endnotes in general is bad, but there are too many unnecessary ones here, which interfere unnecessarily with an otherwise great read.
And while fans of the Burton or Sondheim productions may be disappointed to find different plot and characterization, The String of Pearls a.k.a. Sweeney Todd remains an enjoyable tale in its own right. The book, aided by the footnotes, stands the test of time and is accessible to a modern audience. There is one drawback: readers will doubtless be familiar with the secret of Todd's practice and Lovett's pies, but the book depends upon the shock of these revelations--and so the climax, and the end of the book, is somewhat deadened. It's a tolerable disappointment, but a disappointment nonetheless. Still, Sweeney Todd offers just the sort of fearful pleasure that a penny dreadful promises. Todd's characterization is menacing and vibrant, the story moves at a rapid pace while still indulging in the gothic joys of atmosphere and suspense, there's gleeful horror and morbidity (and plenty of delicious pie puns), and while the writing may not be brilliant it is consistently good.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
First off, I think this might be public domain? Get it free if you can. But keep reading this review because there's some important stuff you should know and hey, shameless self... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Faith Chapman
I enjoyed watching the movie, and I know I'll enjoy reading the novel. Tim Burton is a horror movie genius.Published on March 6, 2014 by Sarah Courtney Rose
This is the original 1847 "penny dreadful" version of Sweeney Todd (originally entitled "The String of Pearls: A Romance"). Read morePublished on December 22, 2013 by Joel E. Mitchell
That book is a marvellous treasure. It is dedicated to the film of Tim Burton and hence to Johnny Depp whose bleak and disquieting face is on the cover all surrounded by red and... Read morePublished on June 25, 2012 by Dr Jacques COULARDEAU
This version of the popular Sweeney Todd horror story is prefaced by an introduction to the curious life of the story. Read morePublished on January 17, 2012 by FicktionPhotography
AMAZING MOVIE! if you like JD, musicals, morbid subjects or all of the above its awesome, great direction and cinematography. catchy songs too!Published on September 20, 2009 by LGusty
This book was in my opinion marketed under false pretenses. I did enjoy it, but like a lot of people quickly realized this was not the story we saw in the movies. Read morePublished on August 30, 2008 by K. K. Jo
"Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street," a book by Robert L. Mack, who's evidently an expert on the subject of Sweeney Todd, as he's also author of The Wonderful and... Read morePublished on July 9, 2008 by Stephanie De Pue
Having already watched the movie version and Broadway production, I was ready to delve into the story of Sweeney Todd. Read morePublished on June 20, 2008 by C. G.