So you have just seen Mamma Mia (you haven’t?- well I did with a back row chorus of soul sisters whooping, and clapping) and you had a hallelujah moment; its the white-beach-sun-kissed Greek island holiday or a divorce. Now that’s settled what are you going to read. You’ll want something raunchy, frothy, funny and light with a smidgeon of culture- and that’s what you get from Gods Behaving Badly by Marie Phillips.
The snobs will sneer that Aristopaneous did it so much better and raunchier in the original Greek darling. You can counter by saying GBB is Deus ex machina to its core. And the killer put down is…can you hold the book in one hand and keep the story focused after the fifth chilled Mytilenian Ouzo? You can when the hardback is only 277 pages with big print.
The story is the gods of Olympus are alive and well in the twenty-first century, but crammed together in a London pile, broke and with ever declining powers. They do have day jobs: Artemis as a dog-walker, Apollo as a TV psychic wannabe, Aphrodite as a phone sex operator, Dionysus as a DJ and so on. Do you geedit! In keeping with the Olympic modus operandi, the gods squabble and use humans (OCD cleaner Alice and wet Engineer Neil) as their playthings. Soon the petty fight becomes a struggle for the survival of humankind. To save the world these two decidedly ordinary people have to become mythical heroes-can they!
The book’s prose is fluffy rather then tripping the light fantastic and could flag in the middle except that’s the bit where the writing got interesting for me. And my raunchy is your seedy and vulgar. So you pays your money and takes you choice.
Here’s a final thought for you as you sizzle in the sun, reading this afternoon beach-read, what sort of world would it be if the Olympic shenanigans were true: the gods did make the Moon and Sun move, we were the playthings of Fate and Christianity was a man made mistake. Hmm, best to turn over and sink the next glass, afterall you are on holiday.