Book review: Zeus Grants Stupid Wishes: A No-Bullshit Guide to World Mythology

Zeus Grants Stupid Wishes: A No-Bullshit Guide to World MythologyZeus Grants Stupid Wishes: A No-Bullshit Guide to World Mythology by Cory O’Brien

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

So there’s a website, right? And on that website, a guy writes about myths. Or, as he puts it, YELLS MYTHS AT THE INTERNET.

This yelling takes the form of retelling myths in a kind of what-the-fuck, bro argot that involves a lot of swearing and PERIODS OF CAPSLOCK TO CONVEY HOW OFF-THE-CHARTS BULLSHIT something in the myth might be. Everything’s zazzed up a bit, and angled for humour. I mean, here’s some online examples to chew over:

Tanukis have big balls.
So it turns out Atlantis was full of terrible people.
The Norse are fucking brutal.
Rabbit is a shitty host.

You get the idea, right? Even if you didn’t click I bet you can predict what you’ll get.

Crucially, the retellings – while not as detailed as Graves’ writing, say – keep the main flavour of the myths intact. They’re retold with humour, but enough of the real story remains so that anyone unfamiliar with ’em might be tempted to search out more. Each story provides a taste of the myth, but doesn’t overstay its welcome. Short is good. Think of it as a Bill & Ted version of a cribsheet for a selection of mythologies.

I found this collection to be an interesting refresher, and reminded me of stories I covered in university courses and should return to – it’s definitely worth a look if you’ve read a bit of the sources that’re poked whack at.

(Be sure to read the last chapter for justification, and a surprisingly heartfelt call for communication and understanding, with MUCH LESS SHOUTING than you’d expect.)

Honestly, this isn’t a long review because you’re either going to like the style or hate it. Check out the website – there’s yelled versions of Sherlock Holmes stories, of urban myths, of the Orlando Furioso – and make up your mind. If you laughed, the book’s worth your time, even if it’s only the time you’re on the can.

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