January 16, 2009

Gods Behaving Badly: Review

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In Gods Behaving Badly by Marie Phillips the Greek gods' time in the sun has long since passed. Now they live together in a crumbling house in London as their powers dwindle away. To make ends meet, Artemis walks dogs, Aphrodite takes a job as a sex phone operator and Apollo hosts a low, low budget psychic TV show. A bunch of bored gods with nothing much to do is a recipe for trouble. They squabble constantly amongst themselves and plot elaborate revenge on each other. Unfortunately, for lonely office cleaner Alice and her admirer Neil, gods and goddesses care little about how their shenanigans affect us mortals.

Right away I was hooked by Gods Behaving Badly, in fact I read the whole thing in a day. Knowing a little about the gods might be helpful but not necessary. Phillips explains to the reader who they are and drives the point home by giving them the appropriate personality. One would expect the god of the sun to think the world revolves around him, wouldn't one? So, you can be as ignorant as I am about Greek mythology and still know what's happening.

It must have been such fun to write this book. The rules of the humans do not apply. They are arrogant, vain and self-centred- and it makes them all the more funny and endearing. They play out their parts so dramatically. It's quite entertaining. As for the humans caught in the middle of the feuding gods, Alice and Neil, they are so awkward and shy, they make unlikely heroes, I couldn't help getting attached to them.

The humour in the book is the kind I like most, the dry British kind, very witty, very smart. It's a bit on the raunchy side. Religion is treated irreverently so it's important that you aren't easily offended. I think the key to enjoying this book is to not take it too seriously. Phillips has an important message about belief in there but for the most part it's fun. The ending was a little contrived but I can forgive that when I think of the novel as a whole. It's a nice change from the heavy reading I've been doing lately where life is hard and then we die.
(Reviewed for Random House)

Recommended

Also reviewed by
Anna

19 comments :

  1. I haven't read this yet, but I heard Marie Phillips on Blog Talk Radio and she was hilarious.

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  2. Great review Chris! I felt exactly the same way about it - a terrific fun romp, but not for the easily offended.
    I finally have my Greek Gods figured out after reading that book.

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  3. sounds great! it reminds me a little of Fables, or what I heard of it cause I haven't read that one yet either:P

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  4. I loved this book. here's my review if you are interested: http://anovelmenagerie.com/ghost/2008/12/22/book-review-gods/

    have a great day!

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  5. I thought this book was a hoot and a holler....loved it! Nice review!

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  6. I won a copy of this in a contest recently and I can't wait to read it. Your review only makes me wish the mail service moved a little faster.

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  7. Sounds hilarious! Maybe it will help me with who's who in Greek mythology.

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  8. I've read reviews of this and it does sound great.

    As an American living in England it took me YEARS to appreciate British humour..

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  9. This isn't really my type of read, but I actually really enjoyed it when I read it last year!

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  10. I loved this book - a really good comic gods fantasy. You mgiht also like some of Tom Holts stuff where gods and the nortal world interact and a few Discworld novels by Terry Pratchett also have their own take on the gods.

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  11. Even your review makes me smile! I'll look out for this one.

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  12. This book was hilarious! I absolutely loved it! It definitely went quick.

    I've linked to your review from mine, which is here.

    --Anna
    Diary of an Eccentric

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  13. The premise of Gods Behaving Badly is made all the more intriquing by your review. Thanks! I'll have to keep an eye out for this book at the libraru.

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  14. I had heard good things about this book, but your review really makes me want to go out and get it! I've always really enjoyed reading mythology and it sounds like it is way too much fun. Glad you liked it, Chris!

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  15. Great review! I read half of this before having to return it to the library, but I enjoyed what I read so much that I plan to buy my own copy :)

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  16. Thanks for your thoughts you guys!

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  17. Thanks for your recommendation. I'm not a reader of this genre usually, but you tempt me. Honestly!!

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  18. I love love loved this book. I'm adding your review to my list.

    here's my link: http://savvyverseandwit.blogspot.com/2008/12/gods-behaving-badly-by-marie-phillips.html

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  19. I love british humor! Haha. I think this is right for me :P I like it when they take something from the past and give it a twist for today's world. :)

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