Marie Phillips: Gods Behaving Badly

by Rachel Baker on December 5, 2008

Marie Phillips, Gods Behaving BadlyWhat happens when you cram Greek Gods and Goddesses into a London flat in the 21st Century London?  Well, they behave badly, of course!

In Gods Behaving Badly, by Marie Phillips, the Olympians have had to get “real” jobs – Aphrodite is a sex phone operator (of course!), Dionysus owns a nightclub, Artemis is a dog walker and Apollo a TV psychic.  The flat they live in is dilapidated and so dirty there’s sediment on the floor and walls.  Persephone wants to stay in the Underworld with Hades, because of all the insanity of the occupants.  They fight amongst themselves and they scheme against each other. They don’t clean up after themselves, they all share rooms and there’s only one bathroom (it never occurred to me Gods/Goddesses needed a bathroom) for almost twelve deities. Oh yeah…and Zeus is a madman locked up in the upstairs/roof bedroom.  

From the very beginning, the premise of Gods Behaving Badly by Marie Phillips sounded interesting. When I first heard about this book, I couldn’t help but wonder if it would be ‘Neil Gaiman’ funny.  I was not disappointed.  The book was humorous from beginning to end.  The Gods/Goddesses are bored after centuries of existence, they don’t understand why their powers are weak and they have some responsibility to the world they aren’t quite fulfilling (due to the lack of powers).  Oh and did I tell you their house is disgustingly dirty?  Enter Alice – the house cleaner whom Apollo falls in love with with help from Eros forced by Aphrodite.  Then there’s Ned, the other mortal, who falls for Alice but is scared to say anything who loses his chances with her when Zeus kills Alice prompted by Apollo for rejecting him.  BUT WAIT!  there’s a whole journey to the Underworld, save the woman you love, save the God who put himself in a coma and Oh yeah, help the other Olympians gain their powers back.

I loved this book!  It was a quick easy read and it had me laughing out loud at least once in every chapter. I did feel like some of the writing fell a bit short (specifically in detail and during the parts in the underworld).  It seemed in some places the plot could have been fleshed out a bit more.  Anyone who likes the humor of Neil Gaiman in books like American Gods and Good Omens will most likely enjoy Gods Behaving Badly by Marie Phillips.  I think also, this book would make a great movie.

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