Skip to main content

Review--Gods Behaving Badly, by Marie Phillips

The ancient Greek gods, while immortal, had very human characteristics, so its no wonder that they've managed to survive well into the twenty-first century. Since 1665, the gods have been living (just barely) in a dilapidated house in London and have taken up modern-day jobs. Times have changed, but the gods haven't—Dionysius is still drunk, Ares is still plotting war, and Demeter is still tending to the plants in the garden. Artemis, who is now a dog-walker, is the character on whom the novel focuses the most (she’s also one of the more straightforward of the gods).

The book opens with a fight between Apollo (a TV psychic) and Aphrodite (a phone sex operator), which escalates when the latter enacts revenge on her nephew. One day, as Apollo is in the middle of a broadcast, Eros causes him to fall violently in love with Alice Mulholland, a house cleaner who happens to be in the audience that day.


What ensues is a wonderfully comic (albeit dark) tale of love and sex in modern-day society. Some readers might be affronted by the in-your-face sexuality of the book, but you have to remember that the Greek gods were extremely sexual beings. And you don't have to have an in-depth knowledge of Greek mythology to understand the book (sometimes it's explained for the reader). The idea for Gods Behaving Badly is ingenious, and it's carried through perfectly. Marie Phillips’s writing style is lighthearted, fun, and engaging, and keeps you interested the whole way through this short novel.


Also—how can you not love the cover? A classical Greek statue wearing a bustier… awesome.

Comments

this looks great. I'll have to pick it up next time I'm at a bookstore.
I think you make great recommendations. Hope all is well with you!

Popular posts from this blog

Review: Forever Amber, by Kathleen Winsor

Pages: 972 Originally published: 1944 My edition: 2000 (Chicago Review Press) How I acquired my copy: Amazon.com, 2004

Forever Amber takes place in the 1660s, immediately follwing Charles II's ("the Merry Monarch") return of the Stuarts to the English throne. The book features Amber St. Claire, a young woman who starts out as a sixteen-year-old country girl, naieve to the workings of the world. She immediately meets Bruce Carlton, a dashing young Cavalier, with whom she has a passionate love affair in choppy intervals throughout the book. They have two children together, but Bruce won't marry her for the reason he tells his friend Lord Almsbury: that Amber just isn't the kind of woman one marries.

Upon following Bruce to London, he goes to Virginia, leaving her to fend for herself. What follows is a series of affairs and four marriages, with Bruce coming back from America now and then. Amber's marriages are imprudent: her first husband is a gambler, her second is…

Review: Jane Austen's Letters, ed. by Deirdre Le Faye

Pages: 667 Original date of publication: 2011 My copy: 2011 (Oxford University Press) Why I decided to read: How I acquired my copy: Amazon.com, April 2013
This is a compilation of many of Jane Austen’s letters, most of them sent to her sister Cassandra between 1796 and 1817, the year of her death. Although many of Austen’s letters were destroyed by her sister in order to preserve the family reputation, the collection contains over 160 letters in which Austen gives her sister details about her life in Chawton—as well as giving us a tantalizing glimpse of what was going through her mind as she was writing her novels (especially the novel that was to become Pride and Prejudice, First Impressions). There are other letters here, too, giving advice to her niece and professional correspondence to publishers—as well as a couple of letters that were written by Cassandra Austen after Jane’s death.
To the sisters, the letters acted in the way that phone calls do today; Austen’s news is all about pe…

Review: Midnight in Peking, by Paul French

Pages: 259 Original date of publication: 2013 My copy: 2013 (Penguin) Why I decided to read: How I acquired my copy: Phoenix bookstore, May 2013
In January 1937, the body of a young British girl, Pamela Werner, was found near Peking’s Fox Tower. Although two detectives, one British and the other Chinese, spent months on the case, the case was never solved completely, and the case was forgotten in the wake of the invasion of the Japanese. Frustrated, Pamela’s father, a former diplomat, tried to solve the crime. His investigation took him into the underbelly of Peking society and uncovered a secret that was worse than anything he could have imagined.
At first, I thought that this would be a pretty straightforward retelling of a true crime, but what Paul French (who spent seven years researching the story) reveals in this book is much more than that. Foreign society in Peking in the 1930s was stratified, with the British colonials at the top and the White Russian refugees at the bottom, but…