My Dear Hamilton by Stephanie Dray & Laura Kamoie – Book Review

This narrative by Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie was made by compiling the hundreds of letters written to and from Eliza and Alexander Hamilton. It starts with Eliza in her early twenties, a few months before she met Hamilton. She talks about her childhood and growing up in a conflicted nation. Her older sister (contrary to what the musical says), eloped at an early age and had a 2-year-old child before Hamilton arrived in the States. The book then splits into four sections:

1- A War for Independence. The first section begins with “I was someone before I met Alexander Hamilton.” This foreshadows her becoming a whole new person during the American Revolution, and how helping Hamilton with politics helped her in the long run.

2- A War for Peace. Eliza, having had a child of her own, Eliza helps Hamilton and James “Jemmy” Maddison with writing the Federalist Papers and trying to keep her kids out of the chaos that ensued after the revolution (Maria Reynolds has entered the room).

3- The War of Words. After just barely surviving Yellow Fever, Eliza and Alexander made up and no longer had issues. He builds her a giant house called the Grange, and she raises a few more children. She soon discovered that her second born, Ana, has some severe mental issues after witnessing her adopted sister leave. The Hamiltons try to ignore her problems, but some of them are too large to overlook.

4- A War for History. This final section talks about Hamilton and his son Philip’s death, and what she does afterward. Her sons all joined the revolt in the war of 1812, and Angelica’s sad death created a ripple effect that almost shattered her perception of her family (read the book to find out what happened)!

-Izzy W.

My Dear Hamilton by Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It is also available for download for free from Libby.

Hamilton: An American Musical

Mostly everyone has heard of the musical that has swept theatre geeks off their feet when it first came out in 2015. Yes, I’m talking about Hamilton. If you don’t love it, you’ve heard of it. If you haven’t heard of it… you’ve come to the right blog.

Hamilton: An American Musical was written by Lin-Manuel Miranda who has had experience in writing a musical with In The Heights. He co-wrote the songs from Disney’s Moana. But, Lin-Manuel Miranda is most popular for writing Hamilton.

Hamilton is a perfect combination of spunky, fast-moving rap, and slow, sweet, and sad melodies. I’ve listened to the music over and over, until it’s been ingrained into my memory, like the true geek I am. Unfortunately, this means I have physically lost the power to cry over ‘It’s Quiet Uptown’. Now, listening to the soundtrack on YouTube and watching the musical are two very different things. I had the privilege to go see it at Segerstrom Theater. I think when we entered the waiting room to buy tickets online, it was the most stressful 43 minutes of my theatre life. And that’s saying a lot, because I’ve had to wait a week to get my part in multiple musicals. When I was watching Hamilton, it was different from listening, partially because it wasn’t the original cast (I wish it was!), and of course they sounded different. But, watching the actors pour their souls into the life of a man who lived centuries ago.

If you were to ask me who my favorite character was, or who stole the show, I wouldn’t say Angelica, Eliza, or even Peggy (although she was amazing). King George was a showstopper. Though he stood in one place for the remainder of his songs, something about him, singing about death, completely calm, just made everyone laugh. In the beginning, he stood calmly, but in the second half of the show, King George, just like in real life, started to go mad. His eyes were wild, and his laugh maniacal. He completely stole the show, in my opinion.

Hamilton: An American Musical, is something me and my theater friends bond over. Before rehearsals, we could be heard singing Farmers Refuted, or Cabinet Battle #1. Hamilton is the perfect mix for anyone, whether you like rap, or slow, sweet songs, it has it all.

-Sophia D.