Monday, September 9, 2013
WWRW (or whenever)
I finally read Percy Jackson! I know... I'm ridiculously behind the times. Let me first explain that I grew up with Greek Mythology but never felt comfortable introducing my kids to it at a young age. My beloved grandfather gave me a copy of D'Aulaires' Book of Greek Myths and I memorized that thing. I knew the names of the gods and goddesses and their symbols and mis-adventures. I aced my Art History classes because I could always spot the mythological references. But unfortunately, I loved it too much. Neo-paganism was a temptation when I was younger and one that really scared me once I found the fullness of my faith. So, that's my story about why I never felt comfortable introducing my kids to those myths I loved. We all have our own story and I certainly don't begrudge anyone who chooses differently for their kids. They probably didn't struggle with it the way I did. I did try to introduce The Professor to that favorite book of mine when he was younger (after reading other people's praises of it and of a classics centered education) and he thought the pictures were weird and the stories kind of creepy. So, it went away.
Anyway, Percy Jackson... The Professor read it a couple of years ago because a friend told him he'd like it. He didn't so much. We dropped it. Until last week. I heard someone ask for Riordan's new book at our library and I got curious. So, I grabbed the first one and read it.
I have to admit, I was surprised in two ways. First, I was surprised that it wasn't really well-written. I mean, not like I could write something better, but it seemed a little "lightweight". Maybe it's just my perception having come off reading a couple of Jane Austens. I was actually in the middle of another one when I started reading it. I don't know what I was expecting, but it just surprised me, is all I'm saying. The other surprise was that I thought he did an excellent job not romanticizing the gods of Olympus. Riordan writes them like squabbling five year olds. He doesn't try to make them virtuous or noble because they weren't. The Greeks had no devotion to their gods. They were to be feared and avoided (placated) as much as possible.
I imagine Mr. Riordan to be a bit like the character of Chiron, someone who loves to teach and thought of a fantastically creative way to introduce the younger generation to Greek mythology. The man knows how to write suspense, I will give him that. He definitely told a story that kept me wondering what was going to happen next. As I read, I kept thinking, "He wrote a good movie." because it read so easily like a screenplay; the dialogue, the bantering, even the product placement. I guess maybe I should check out the movie and see if I was right.
For a reasonable, more thorough review, check out Jessica's over at Housewifespice.