Hello Bookworms 🐛 Today I come bearing a book review of The Odyssey by Homer. I had to read The Odyssey for my English class this year, and I have some seriously mixed feelings on it. But before I get into that, here is a quick summary of the book:
It is several years after the Trojan War, and suitors have taken over the supposedly dead Odysseus’ house. They kill all the livestock, party all day and plan to win the heart of Great Odysseus’ wife Penelope. Little do they know that Odysseus is not dead, but stuck on an island, planning his return, and the suitors’ death. The story follows Telemachus searching for news of his father, and Odysseus’ great journey home.
Now, for the review:
I am happy I read it, beacause I was excited about a challenge, and because it will look good on my college transcript (which my teacher told me is the reason why we read it,) but I cannot say that I loved it. Here’s why:
Odysseus is the hero of the Odyssey, and I honestly did not like this guy at all. Yes, he has a good story of the troubles he faced after the Trojan war and I did enjoy “listening” to him tell it, but I personally think that Odysseus was not a great hero. For starters, the goal of the story was to get home to his palace, kill the suitors who run rampant, and re-unite with his family. If he was so focused on getting back to his wife and son, I don’t understand why he spent a whole year on Circe’s island cheating on his wife Penelope. Also, I found that he was very whiney when he experienced difficulty getting back home to Ithica. He pretty much wanted people to pity him, and I had hoped that he would be a stronger character. I understand that after experiencing the tragidy that Odysseus did, anybody would come close to falling apart, and I would have understood it if he didn’t hold it together all the time, but I do wish he didn’t whine as much.
I dislike Penelope as well. She gets angry that the suitors who wish to marry her are trashing her house, but she just stands there and watches for the whole book. I don’t understand why neither her, or Telemachus, her son, didn’t do anything about the destruction of their property. Penelope is a Queen, wouldn’t they leave if she told them to? I also dislike her because she made herself blind to the truth. She heard several prophets tell prophecys about Odysseus coming home to Ithica at last, and she always said “If only…” Then, she has a dream about Odysseus coming home at last, and she askes to have it interpreted, even though it was the same as all of the prophesies. And yet they call her “The wise Penelope.”
My distaste for the hero and his wife were one of the main reasons why I didn’t particularly like The Odyssey, but it was also because it was HARD. I’m used to reading Middle Grade books and some Young Adult novels. Acient Greek Epic poetry was something completely different for me, and although I am glad I’ve had the exposure to a new genre, this is a genre that I don’t think will ever be one of my favorites.
Now that I’ve displayed the cons, I will list some of the pros that I found in the book.
- Telemachus was a strong character and I enjoyed following him on his journey.
- Some of the launguage in the story was pretty.
- I really liked Pallas Athena as a character because she was strong and clever.
- The story was action-packed and full of adventure.
So like anything, this book has some pro’s and cons.
Like I said, Telemachus is a pro. I liked this character. He was one of the only characters that I actually did like. I felt that he acted very mature (more so than his father,) and he was overall pretty likable.
Another con is the violence in this book. This book made me realize I am glad I don’t live in ancient Greece. There are two scenes in particular that are especially gory. Odysseus blinding the cyclops with his spear, and the gruesome death of the suitors. Personally, I disliked the cyclops scene more, because I for some reason liked the cyclops more that I liked the suitors, even though he ate the majority of Odysseus’ crew. But the suitors deaths was the really gory scene. Their deaths are described somewhat graphically,and this is the reason I don’t reccomend this book for anyone under fourteen years old.
So I have decided to give this book 2½ stars. I didn’t hate it, but it wasn’t something I would have ever chosen on my own.
So, have you read the Odyssey? What did you think of it? Let me now in the comments below!