When I was little, I used to be able to sit down and read straight through a book in a single afternoon. As I’ve gotten older this has happened less and less often. I’m too busy with school and work and friends or too distracted by tv and movies to plow through a book that quickly. Even this January, a time when I have had very few things that needed to get done, I still hadn’t found a book that I could read straight though.
My reading drought ended, however, when I picked up Gods Behaving Badly by Marie Phillips. I started the book sometime early Saturday afternoon and enjoyed it so much that I had it done by 8:30 on Saturday night (with only brief breaks for errands and dinner). A clever concept, well-written characters, and a compelling plot made this book a light and fun read that left me feeling a little smarter after I finished.
In Gods Behaving Badly, the twelve gods of Mount Olympus have found themselves stuck living together in a run down and utterly unpleasant flat in London. Apollo, god of the sun, has found employment as a television psychic. His twin sister Artemis (goddess of hunting and the moon, among other things) is a professional dog walker, and Aphrodite (goddess of love) spends her time as a phone sex operator. Zeus is practically nonexistent, and the gods are having a rough time making it in the modern world as their powers begin to dwindle and they face the prospect of old age and death. One afternoon, a spat between Apollo and his sometimes-lover Aphrodite brings mortals Alice and Neil into the gods’ world with potentially disastrous consequences.
I can’t really say enough good things about this book. I loved the way Phillips turned the gods into characters, drawing on a lot of Greek mythology to make their professions and plights believable. The conflict in the story was well drawn out, and the eventual resolution and conclusion weren’t predictable at all. Alice and Neil, characters that might disappear next to all of the gods, were sweet, and I was rooting for them throughout the story.
As a side note, there are some slightly inappropriate elements in the book — after all, the Greek gods were know for their propensity to drink and have incestuous sex with one another. Nothing graphic, but it’s worth mentioning. And given that the book makes the Greek gods real, there are a few brief discussions about the relationship between the Greek gods and other modern religions. None of these elements bothered me in the slightest, but I can see why they might bother other readers. So, just an FYI. In all other ways, I enjoyed this book immensely and recommend that you pick it up if you get the chance.
If you have reviewed this book, please leave a link to the review in the comments and I will add your review to the main post. All I ask is for you to do the same to mine — thanks!