Thursday, March 24, 2011

Gods Behaving Badly - Marie Phillips (Audio)


Many bloggers have reviewed this little piece of work, and have claimed it to be a fun, bawdy romp. I've had it on my iPod for ages, and pulled it out when bawdy was what the doctor ordered, after plagues and parentless children.

But call it a mood, call it lost humor, call it just bitchiness, but I don't think this book accomplished its goals on me. I'll get into it in a minute, but first let me try to explain what we have going on here.

Synopsis: It is modern day, and the Gods of ye olde Greece are no longer considered viable. They have lost their power and prestige, and have sunk to all-time lows. Aphrodite works as a phone sex provider, Dionysus runs a bar, Artemis lives in sweat pants and walks her dogs all day, Zeus has dementia, and Apollo is just bored and wants nookie all the time (and when he is turned down, his victims are converted into trees and such). They are self-absorbed, they fight amongst themselves, and none are very likable.

Enter Alice, a beautiful but quiet housecleaner who is hired by the Gods to clean their pigsty of a house in London. Apollo wants her, she doesn't reciprocate, and, well, it just goes south from there, literally. Alice's boyfriend and Artemis conspire to one-up Apollo's power-hungry selfish actions by taking a journey to the underworld, and also at the same time, save the world from total destruction.

And if that doesn't make much sense to you, don't worry. I don't think there is any sense to be had in there anywhere. Trust me when I say that I've boiled it down the best I can.

My thoughts: You know the games that you play where you have a group of people, and one person starts a story with a sentence or two? Then the next person adds a sentence or two, and so on? Nobody really knows where the story is going to end up, and it goes in crazy, illogical directions? That is what we have here. It really felt like the author was taking plot suggestions from a group of her tipsy, fun-loving friends at a drink fest, and throwing it all in there for good measure. I daren't even call it a plot, but the THREAD was just a nose hair away from insane.

It was certainly bawdy. Lots of sex between these Gods, lots of drinking, lots of language...hedonism at its best. I did get a few chuckles at the absurdity.

And I'm sure the ultimate intent of this book WAS absurdity. But in the state of mind I was in (not bad really, just busy), it all came across to me as ridiculous. I nearly stopped listening after a couple of discs, but persevered and had an easier time with it the last half of the book. I did appreciate a few moments of levity where we witness selfless romantic love and grief, and I did learn a few (skewed) basics about the Greek Gods.

Let's put it this way...I have the same feeling about Nacho Libre when my family decides to watch that movie. A couple glasses of wine, and I can tolerate it - I might even laugh. Stone sober, it seems like a waste of my time, and I ponder the lows at which we stoop to find entertainment. (I promise, I really do have a good sense of humor usually.)

Many have loved this book in the way that it tickled their funny bone, but I feel compelled to be honest with you. If you are in a goofy mood, go for it. If not, you might want to pass.

A word about the audio production: Our narrator for this book was Rosalyn Landor, who has a rather impressive track record for audio books. Never Let Me Go, Madame Tussaud, The Historian, as well as a whole string of Lisa Kleypas novels. Her vocalization was just fine, but it wasn't enough to make me love this story.

2 out of 5 stars




23 comments:

Nymeth said...

Sorry it didn't work for you, Sandy! I'm a huge fan of Greek mythology, so it captures my interests for that reason alone. I'll make sure I'm in a goody mood before I try it, though :P

caite said...

I was a fan of Greek mythology back in my student days...when i was actually studying Gree...but this take on it does not really interest me I think.

Beth F said...

Like you, I've had this book for a couple of years. Not sure why I haven't dragged it off the shelf. I'll wait until I'm in the mood for light and fun.

bermudaonion said...

I've got this in print and don't think I'll be in a big hurry to read it now.

rhapsodyinbooks said...

Too bad; it sure sounded like a cute premise!

Zibilee said...

I bought this for my husband and he read it and his reaction was much like yours. I had wanted to read it but now I am not so sure. If, and this is a big if...it's absurdist literature, I think I would like it, but if it's just a messy plot filled with rudely cavorting gods, then I don't think I will care for it. I am glad you were so candid about your feelings for this book. I think I am going to try the first chapter and see what I think. I also love that you included the word nose hair in this post. To few mentions of nose hair on the blogs, in my opinion.

Matt said...

I was a classic minor in college, but wasn't keen on the Greek mythology. I've had this as a gift for a long time but I was never in the mood to read this one.

Jenners said...

Oh well. Not every book is going to work for everyone. Sorry it was a disappointment.

Julie P. said...

I definitely don't think this book is for everyone, but I found it entertaining. Thought the premise was terrific!

Kathleen said...

Not sure what I would think of this one but if I had enough wine...ha!

heidenkind said...

Sounds like retread. Yawn.

Trisha said...

Sorry you didn't like it. I admit to having a jolly good time reading it. :)

Coffee and a Book Chick said...

This is definitely one that although I love Greek mythology, I might read the printed version instead and will skip the audio. I've got one good audio going right now (Never Let Me Go), so I don't want to jinx anything! :)

Alyce said...

I haven't read this one, but I have seen a lot of good reviews. I'm generally not a fan of bawdy humor, so I'll probably pass on this one. :)

Jenny said...

I love the metaphors and comparisons! Definitely helps me get an idea of what his book is like!

Carrie K. said...

I've been going back and forth on this one; think I'll pass. :)

xalwaysdreamx said...

You're very right! With my busy chaotic schedule, I'm rarely in the mood for reading chaotic plots that seem to go nowhere, myself...

--Sharry

Dawn @ sheIsTooFondOfBooks said...

I've had this on my TBR list for a while - was looking forward to reading it "some day", but now I'm not sure!

Your description of how it *might* have been created really got me laughing (hey, let's try to write a book the next time we're together with Heather ... we'll be sure to include nose hair in the plot).

Meg said...

Sandy, I'm so with you -- I read this one years ago and literally wrinkled my nose at the book. Wasn't my cup of tea at all, and I found the entire "plot" (yes, a term used loosely) to be over-the-top ridiculous. Plus, none of the main characters interested me. Blech!

Ti said...

When I first heard of the premise, I thought, "Hmmm...interesting." However, I know that it's not for me. I can totally see someone making a movie out of it though.

Swapna said...

Sorry you didn't enjoy this one! I remember liking it, but honestly, it's been so long, I couldn't really tell you anything about it.

Anna said...

I really think enjoying this book depends on your mood. I thought it was hilarious, but you're right, it is mostly ridiculous and it certainly isn't a great work of literature. It is what it is, and it's not for everyone. I enjoyed your review though, especially the "nose hair away from insane" line!

Melissa said...

I won a copy of this one when it was making the blog rounds way back when...A friend read it, but just thought it was so-so. It hasn't caught my attention in all this time, so maybe it's time to clear it off my shelves.