Dr. Freeman, a professor of classics, provides a modern, adult retelling of the classic myths in Oh My Gods. The myths of the classic world continue to touch modern life. We still know the stories of the Trojan horse, Hercules, and Midas of the golden touch. Children eagerly read myths today just as they have for centuries past. Yet, few of us have the time or energy to research the myths beyond the books of our childhood or the movies we watched. In this book, Dr. Freeman tells the tales from the ancients in a well-researched tome, using contemporary language and a fun sense of humor.
I loved mythology as a child and have read quite a few of the classic sources as an adult. So, I dove into Dr. Freeman’s retellings with a sense of anticipation. I was not disappointed. Dr. Freeman writes with a relaxed voice, giving the reader the impression they are hearing the tales told to them, rather than reading them. These stories stem from an ancient oral tradition and I felt they came across more naturally with the tone Dr. Freeman used than in the other collections I have read.
Kings and gods alike fall in love or in lust, as the case may be, breeding heroes to have adventures. Jason once again seeks the Golden Fleece. Hercules completes his labors. The war at Troy is fought once again. This volume has it all and includes tales from Rome such as the story of Romulus and Remus that often does not make it into mythology books. Each story is told with mentions of significant variations and with a deep understanding of the hearts of these myths.
My only complaint is so academic that I am hesitant to even mention it in a book review. One of the tales Dr. Freeman retold stems from one of Plato’s writing. Plato’s intention could be argued extensively in a philosophy course (and frequently has been) and it felt out of place with the other stories. It does not fit in with the traditional mythology of the Greeks and had been intended by Plato to be viewed within the context of the overall dialogue. However, it is an enjoyable story and I appreciate that it will now get a larger audience than it has (because, really, how many people read Plato for fun).
I highly recommend this book for anyone interested in mythology. It is a fun and easy read that provides a great collection of the most popular myths of the western world. Dr. Freeman has created a new classic, a book which will become a resource for mythology for years to come.
Sara Drake has been an avid reader since a young age. She has both a Master’s in Mental Health Counseling and a Master’s in History.
Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Simon & Schuster. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.