Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Gods Behaving Badly by Marie Phillips

Gods Behaving Badly is a brilliant, impressive first novel, and the funniest book I've read in a long time. It's a fast, fun read, something to pick up after a book with heavier themes.

In Gods Behaving Badly, Marie Phillips puts the Greek gods of Olympus in modern day London, and she does so in a way that is hilarious and believable, given what is known about the gods and today's society. Artemis, goddess of hunting, is a dog walker; Apollo, god of the sun, is a television psychic; Aphrodite, goddess of love and beauty, is a sex phone operator; Eros, god of love, is a Christian; and Dionysus, god of wine and merriment, is a DJ and nightclub owner. These gods and goddesses, along with Athena, Ares, Demeter, Hades, Hermes, and a weak and withered Zeus, live in a filthy house that is in horrible condition. People don't believe in them anymore, so their powers are weakening, and they show signs of aging.

When Aphrodite seeks revenge on Apollo for refusing to use his powers to heat her shower water, a love arrow shot by Eros causes Apollo to fall in love with Alice, a meek, plain woman who ends up being hired by Artemis to clean the gods' home. Apollo's love is unrequited, and he takes drastic measures that ultimately put the entire world in jeopardy. The fate of the world is in the hands of Artemis, Alice, and Neil, the nerdy engineer who is quietly in love with Alice.

I know nothing about Greek mythology, but the story was easy to follow and enjoy. Phillips has a great sense of humor, and it shows in her writing. To me, the writing style was similar to what you'd find in a good chick-lit book, like Sophie Kinsella's Shopaholic series, absent the standard chick-lit themes of shopping and looking for a man. Gods Behaving Badly has some sex, bad language, and a love story, and despite the humor and lightness of the plot, Phillips gets you thinking about the state of society. Zeus is holed up in an attic room glued to the television, for instance, and Apollo acts harshly when snubbed by a woman at the beginning of the book. Also, the book raises some questions about belief systems, guilt, and forgiveness. Gods Behaving Badly is on my list of favorite books of 2008, and I could easily see myself re-reading it at some point.

Gods Behaving Badly also was reviewed by:

Booking Mama
Books Books and more Books!
Savvy Verse & Wit
A Reader's Respite
The 3 R's: Reading, 'Riting, and Randomness

If your blog isn't listed, leave me a link to your review in the comments, and I'd be happy to add it!

Disclosure:  I received a free copy of Gods Behaving Badly from Hachette for review purposes.


Anonymous said...

I can't wait to read this book. I heard Marie Phillips on Blog Talk Radio and she was hilarious.

Serena said...

I agree...Neil was quietly in love with Alice, and she with him. They were almost like two little love. :)

I really loved this book. It's on my list of the best of 2008 as well.

S. Krishna said...

I really enjoyed this one as well. Great review!

Anonymous said...

This book sounds like so much fun to read! Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

Florinda said...

I keep reading such good things about this book. I had it on my wish list back in the fall, and have since picked up a copy - hope to get to it soon! Thanks for the great review :-).

Shana said...

Okay, now that you and Serena have both given this book such a great endorsement, it's gonna have to go on my wish list.

Jo-Jo said...

Oh I can't wait to read this one! It sounds like such a hoot.

Literary Feline said...

The more I hear about this one, the more I want to read it! Thanks for the great review!

Trish @ Love, Laughter, Insanity said...

I've always really loved Greek mythology and this sounds like way too much fun! I'll definitely have to keep my eye open for it. Glad you liked it so much.

Teddy Rose said...

I just received my copy of this book from Hachette Books. I'm looking forward to reading it.

Darlene said...

I didn't read your full review. I only read to see if you liked it as I have this one on my nightstand coming up.

The Bookworm said...

I've heard many good things about this one :) great review.

Anna said...

Bermudaonion: Thanks for reminding me about that show. I've been meaning to check it out.

Serena: Glad to hear we had similar thoughts on this one. I agree that they were almost childlike.

S. Krishna: Thanks!

Stephanie: It was a fun read. I really needed a book like that.

Florinda: I can't wait to hear your thoughts about it.

Shana: I really hope you get a chance to read it. I'd love to know what you think.

Jo-Jo: It definitely was a hoot! I hope you get to read it soon.

Literary Feline: Another one to add to your ever-growing list! LOL

Trish: Since it sounds like you know much more than I do about Greek mythology, I'd be curious to know what you think. Please let me know if you read it.

Teddy Rose: I'll be looking for your review!

Dar: Can't wait to hear your thoughts on it.

Naida: Thanks!

Chrisbookarama said...

Thanks for linking to me! What a great book, huh?

Anna said...

Chris: You're very welcome! It certainly was the funniest book I've read in forever.