Zeus Is A Dick

By Susie Donkin

Zeus Is A Dick, a novel by Susie Donkin
Book details

One man’s truth is another man’s myth and whilst the Greek Gods may have once been worshipped as real, they are now considered by most as myths. This is great for a genre review site as the Greek Gods are as fantastical as they come. They turn themselves and others into animals, have superpowers and live forever. They are also a bunch of dicks, that is according to Susie Donkin and her latest book Zeus is a Dick. If you read a few of his exploits contained within, you will soon agree. 

During the dawning of time there were not many Gods around. Rather than immaculately create more Gods, they decided to sleep with one another. None was more prevalent at this than Zeus who slept with more than one of his own sisters. In the list of his crimes, this is but one. He also ate his first wife, raped several mortals and overall was a bit of a nuisance around anyone: be they women, man or beast. Donkin wants you to remember Zeus as he was – a bit of a dick. 

From the title of the book alone you should cotton on that Zeus is a Dick is an irreverent and rude look at Greek Mythology. The secret is that although the tone may be light and borderline disrespectful (let's just hope the Gods aren’t real), Donkin sticks to the tales that are already known. A lot of studying history is reinterpreting events through the prism of the present. Donkin’s is just choosing to reinterpret Zeus’ greatest hits with a taste of reality. He was horrid. 

The style that Donkin adopts is comedic and conversational. The book is split into several chapters. Each covers a certain story and not all of them are about Zeus. The likes of Apollo and Hera have their moments of disgrace. The prose is punchy and has many references to modern pop culture, almost as if the Greek Gods are living in a version of today. This is a little jarring at first, but the reader should get used to the patter soon enough. There are enough dry academic studies of Zeus available, this is more for people who want a little fun. 

With the humour also comes knowledge. I know some of the Greek Myths and Donkin retells them truthfully. All that is happening is the pointing out of some of the absurdities of the Gods’ actions. How come these omniscient beings can continually rape people and no one calls them out on it? The lack of respect for women in Greek Myths is part of the time the stories arose, and Donkin’s is less than happy about this.  

Among the myths that I did know are several tales new to me. Even in well-known myths there are elements that will come as a surprise. A lot of the tales were cleaned up a little as people became more puritan as time passed, but Donkin tells you what used to told around the fires of yore. If you think the likes of Zeus sleeping with all and sundry was bad enough – the original tales were worse. 

Zeus is a Dick is a book for fans of history that are not fans of academia style writing. This book is the antithesis to this and instead goes out of its way to be comedic and engaging. The conversational style of writing that mixes the old with reference to the new will be jarring for some. Anyone looking for an entertaining book on Greek Mythology that will make them laugh, shock them, but also educate, need look no further.  

Written on 5th November 2020 by .

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Zeus Is A Dick