Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Oh My Gods: A Modern Retelling of Greek and Roman Myths

I discovered Oh My Gods, written by classics professor Phillip Freeman, in the bookstore at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. It would appeal to young adult readers who enjoy reading a good story. It is also for readers like myself who want to learn more about the ancient myths in an entertaining and readable form. According to his introduction, as a child, Freeman loved stories of ancient gods and heroes, but found as an adult little written on classical mythology for readers past childhood. In Oh My Gods, he tries, ". . . to present the major Greek and Roman myths with all the sublime beauty and disturbing twists of the original stories so that the readers can enjoy and appreciate the ancient tales as they were written long ago."

Oh My Gods is written in accessible language and includes all the over the top sex, battle and shape-shifting that has been passed down from the ancient world and more. Creation myths explain where humans, male and female forms, came from, but from an ancient perspective. And all those who think rape, murder is somehow worse today will see that passions of an evil nature are nothing new and just as scary.

For instance, Zeus, the king of the gods, was also the king of seduction who always got what he wanted with or without permission. As he said to a young virgin princess named Io, "Most blessed maiden, why stay a virgin so long when you can have me, Zeus, in your bed? I am enflamed with love for you and would give anything to enjoy your pleasures." Indeed! However, he was hardly polite if the answer was no. If he got angry there was always thunderbolt annihilation at his immediate disposal. 

If this book appeals to them, perhaps a curious young adult, a young warrior or curious maiden, might crack open Homer's Iliad.

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