Gods Behaving Badly by Marie Phillips (2007)

ORIGINAL POST: August 17, 2009

I heard about this book from my younger (college student) sister. The gods only know how she unearthed it.

Published almost two years ago, Gods Behaving Badly follows the Greek gods living in contemporary London. Stripped of most of their powers for reasons unknown, the immortal family now lives in a fetid house. But they are up to their old tricks; plotting against each other and interfering with mortals, causing much grief to the objects of their attention.

The main characters include Apollo, Aphrodite, Artemis, Eres, a plain and kind mortal woman (Alice) who is in love with a plain and kind mortal man (Neil). In a Washington Post review, Ron Charles wrote, “[Gods Beaving Badly] hovers somewhere between Pride and Prejudice and an episode of ‘Bewitched’.”

It had moments of super-silly hilarity, moments of theological insight, and moments where I found myself diappointed. Overall, I wanted a more complicated satire. It had a lot of potential, but in the end, this was just a fun beach read.

I suppose I would recommend this to older teens, looking for something outside the YA genre (because, let’s face it, it gets boring reading about the same teen/high school problems) and to adults who have read Percy Jackson  and want to read something similar but for adults.

Library copy (print) | Jonathan Cape | August 1, 2007 | 277 pages | ISBN: 978-0224081320

UPDATED: July 8, 2011

According to Thompson on Hollywood, filming will begin for a movie adaptation later this month.  Alicia Silverstone will play Alice opposite Ebon Moss-Bachrach. Olympians will be played by Sharon Stone (Aphrodite, a phone-sex operator), Oliver Platt (Apollo, a TV psychic), Edie Falco (Artemis,  a dog-walker), Nelsan Ellis (Dionysus, a night-club owner), Phylicia Rashad (Demeter), John Turturro (Hades), and Rosie Perez (Persephone).

3 thoughts on “Gods Behaving Badly by Marie Phillips (2007)

  1. Well, considering the amount of sex and incest, it could definitely get an R rating! But then again, you can always cut those scenes out and make it a PG-13 movie with ease.

  2. I unearthed this wonderful novel when Apollo delivered it by leaping off the shelf calling to me as if he was sending me the message to spread the word of the gods through this very book.

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