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Zeus is a Dick by Susie Donkin

In the beginning, everything was fine. * And then along came Zeus

*more or less

Ahh Greek myths. Those glorious tales of heroism, honour and… petty squabbles, soap-opera drama and more weird sex than Fifty Shades of Grey could shake a stick at! 

It’s about time we stopped respecting myths and started laughing at them.” 

This book is the tonic everyone needs.

It is hilarious.

So, I love Greek mythology, as stories go they are great but there is a lot of dickish behaviour in them, for some reason though, the Greek Gods and the stories seem to be held in higher esteem than they perhaps deserve.

Enter Susie Donkin, one of the writers on Horrible Histories, and watch her strip away that esteem and reverence and shine a great big 120-watt light on the ridiculousness of the Greek Gods.

“In this book I’ve chosen the funniest stories: the ones where they gods really screw up, the times their egos (and sex drive) get the better of them and we see them and we see them for what they are – horny, insecure, conniving, paranoid, vain and petty. In other words, profoundly human – but with a few godly add-ons like winged sandals and immortality. So, let’s stop revering them and start laughing at them – as the ancient Greeks intended”. Susie Donkin

I knew a fair bit about Greek mythology before picking this up, the title drew me in at a time when I was looking for something to make me laugh, I wanted something fun and light to read. I wasn’t disappointed. The comic retelling of these stories had me laughing all the way through.

You can go to any part of Greece and the places associated with the Gods and Goddesses are sold as reverential, holy, must-see places. I completely buy into this and very easily disregard just how bonkers the stories are. I speak as someone who visited Zeus’ birthplace in Crete (I was mostly impressed with feeling cold for the first time in five days).  I went to Aphrodite’s garden in Cyprus in October, funnily enough there’s no mention that the Goddess of love and beauty being born from discarded genitals. I even went to Apollo’s gaff and there was no mention of the snake he had to dispatch to get his hands on it….the water was also too cold to swim in, bad move Apollo, bad move. This book reminds us how Mount Olympus and the antics of the Gods and Goddesses are the original soap opera.

I loved the reminder and background into Zeus’ story, it’s no surprise he’s a dick, he’s product of his family who are to be fair more dysfunctional than Barlow’s in Coronation Street. They’re all dicks. I’ve always enjoyed the stories and this is a great retelling of them.

It’s silly, filled with pop culture references, nothing is taken seriously and isn’t that just what the doctor ordered? In a bleak winter, when it goes dark at four in the afternoon and the drizzle persistent and we can’t go anywhere, this really made me smile and laugh. 

It’s not for the easily offended, it’s a humorous look at mythology, irreverent and a book that reminds us not to take things so seriously. I’d urge you all to give it a read and start laughing at the Greek Gods, who after all, acted like us. 

“These weren’t Gods who kept an aloof distance, these were larger than life characters who mixed with humans and indulged in the best and worst of what humanity had to offer. Honour and glory? The only glory most of them enjoyed was in the morning. Gods were fallible. Just like us”. Susie Donkin

radiosarahc View All

Journalist, writer, traveller, music lover, collector of hats, news addict, bookworm

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