I should have expected to fall in love.
Book 2 of 53, I only need to read one more book to have done better than last year.
Great Goddesses is a collection of life lessons from myths and monsters told in poetry and prose. I have to admit I was hooked from the first piece of prose ‘1. A mortal interlude’ because Nikita Gill throws out a question that I’ve been asking (myself) forever; ‘What happens to their (Goddesses and God’s) fearsome might when the fervent belief fades?’ I love this question because it applies to all religions and beliefs, everything we believe now will be gone someday (for some things I wish today could be that someday) but at the same time, as we see in this book, these beliefs can be transformed and retold to create more beauty. I think a very important part of this collection is women being retold and truth being put back into their narratives.
My favourite parts of this collection were the ‘,after’; modern imaginings of the Greeks Goddesses and God’s. I cried happy tears reading this book because it filled a little hole in me that always wondered what happens when we stop thinking about people, concepts, and God’s. I like the idea that they can adapt to a modern way of living and thrive in a new world, especially because they have so much to do! The majority of these Goddesses and God’s were responsible for the protection of the natural world or like the woods or the sea, or they were responsible for love, war, hedonism and they face new challenges in these areas because of these new mortals with their throwaway culture.
My favourite two pieces from the ‘,afters’ are ‘Ares, after’ and ‘Aphrodite, after’.
For the ‘Ares, after’ Gill depicts a God of war, who draws his power from war, being drained by all the wars of mortals. For me, and I assume most people, this is a tiredness that we can all empathize with.
For the ‘Aphrodite, after’, to start I want to say the whole story was beautiful, a woman using her talent and skill to create her own redemption. The Goddess of love and beauty creating a dating agency and successfully helping mortals find real love is a refreshing take on Aphrodite who is more often than not depicted as a vain airhead however, the part that stood out to me the most was being in Hestias cottage and meeting women and being in the company of women really for the first time and experiencing that warmth was wonderful to read. There is nothing quite like the company of women and I adored this in the story. It made my heart ache for my friends.
I could call attention to so much more, and I want to, the conversations (like formatted conversations, not just conversations within stories), the poetry, the quotes tie together perfectly to deliver something really special.
The book is also filled with beautiful illustrations that reflect the stories beside them. They remind me of lino prints and they are every bit as special as the writing beside them. (I’ve had a little go at drawing Persephone, a personal favourite Goddess, see image with post).
As this book made me cry happy tears I am going to give it 13/14 hydra heads (yes I’m going to change the numbers every time because everything is made up and there are no rules, Attica).