Sunday, July 26, 2009

Book Review: My Name is Will: A Novel of Sex, Drugs and Shakespeare by Jess Winfield

Review of My Name is Will: A Novel of Sex, Drugs and Shakespeare by Jess Winfield


Set simultaneously in California in 1986 and in England in 1582, My Name is Will introduces us to two young William Shakespeares.

Willie Shakespeare Greenberg, a graduate student in UC Santa Cruz, hasn't been focused on his thesis on William Shakespeare. Instead, he occupies himself with drugs, women, and agrees to deliver a large psychedelic mushroom to a client at a Renaissance Fair. While evading DEA operatives, Willie juggles his longtime girl friend in UC Berkeley, his sexy teaching assistant in UC Santa Cruz and a few willing women along the way.

While in 1582, William Shakespeare is an eighteen-year-old Latin teacher busy with women, drink and drugs. Shakespeare is also beginning to flirt with writing and Winfield gives us glimpses of the seeds of famous speeches, plays, and sonnets. Around young Will, the persecution of Catholics is on the rise. Family members, teachers and friends, and even Shakespeare himself are at risk as the local sheriffs hunt for practicing Catholics. Despite the danger, Shakespeare agrees to deliver a sacred relic from Rome to the family of an executed priest.


Full of double entendres and puns, this is Jess Winfield's debut novel and makes full use of Winfield's deep knowledge of Shakespeare and his experience in the Reduced Shakespeare Company. "A Novel of Sex, Drugs, and Shakespeare" describes it well.

My Name is Will is quirky, funny, silly, sexy, and well executed.

Publisher: Twelve, Reprint edition (July 3, 2009), 320 pages.

Review copy courtesy of Hatchette Books Group.

If you'd like a copy of this book, enter the My Name is Will contest at

To learn more about the author or the book, visit Jess Winfield's website at

Thanks so much to Anna and Hatchette Books group for this opportunity and the generous giveaway!

1 comment:

  1. I *just* saw this book in the bookstore and almost got it! Now I wish I had...