Review: Zeus Grants Stupid Wishes by Cory O'Brien

Tuesday, February 17, 2015
Title: Zeus Grants Stupid Wishes: A No-Bullshit Guide to World Mythology
Author: Cory O'Brien
Genre: Non-fiction
Series: None
Pages: 304
Published: March 5, 2013
Source: Gift
Rating: 4 out of 5

All our lives, we’ve been fed watered-down, PC versions of the classic myths. In reality, mythology is more screwed up than a schizophrenic shaman doing hits of unidentified. Wait, it all makes sense now. In Zeus Grants Stupid Wishes, Cory O’Brien, creator of Myths RETOLD!, sets the stories straight. These are rude, crude, totally sacred texts told the way they were meant to be told: loudly, and with lots of four-letter words. Skeptical? Here are just a few gems to consider:

� Zeus once stuffed an unborn fetus inside his thigh to save its life after he exploded its mother by being too good in bed.

� The entire Egyptian universe was saved because Sekhmet just got too hammered to keep murdering everyone.

� The Hindu universe is run by a married couple who only stop murdering in order to throw sweet dance parties…on the corpses of their enemies.

� The Norse goddess Freyja once consented to a four-dwarf gangbang in exchange for one shiny necklace.

And there’s more dysfunctional goodness where that came from.

OK, so like you know that post on Tumblr, the one where the girl explains the Minotaur myth and it's super funny and easy to understand and everyone's like, "omg this is amazing, why aren't ALL myths TOLD LIKE THIS?!?" Guys, ALL THESE MYTHS ARE TOTALLY TOLD LIKE THAT.

Zeus Grants Stupid Wishes is worth a read, not just for being laugh out loud funny, but for actually being an interesting critique on oral traditions. Mythology was originally passed by bards, the kind of people who were either drunk or performing for the drunk. So while we think of mythology as this stuffy thing historians or your history teacher prattle on about, at the time, they actually were told a lot like...well an overly excited twenty-something on Tumblr.

The first thing that attracted me to the book are the bonkers chapter titles, which themselves went viral for awhile. (If you have a teenager who likes history and social media, buy this and be the cool adult in their life for awhile.) Things like "Ra and Sekhmet, or: How Beer Saved the Universe" and "Sex 4 Gold" should give you a pretty good idea of the stories you're getting. It's filthy. Just gobs of semen jokes. There are stories about nothing but poop and testicles. The illustrations are like a pack of 13 year old boys were turned loose with sharpies. Yet, while crude, it's not mean.

The Greek and Norse stories are my favorites, because I'm most familiar with these stories, so there's humor in knowing what the author changed and what was ABSOLUTELY in the originals. There's a great mix of other cultures represented, from Egypt and other African nations, (which the author does a good job of not lumping into one THIS IS WHAT AFRICA THINKS mush,) to China, Japan, and Hindi. There's even a small section of modern American myths like Pecos Bill and Scientology.

Each story ends with a "moral", that is a total bastardization of the actual message, like:

"if you are not ready to be a father
consider all of your options
before skipping directly to cannibalism"


"apparently women ARE currency
but the exchange rate of women to gold
isn't actually that great"


If I have one critique, it's the epilogue. The author decides to argue that our current science is it's own kind of myth, so we should be nice to the religious and everyone should get along. Hmm, no.

If I have two critiques, I understand presenting many creation myths to show the similarities in multiple cultures, but the jokes got repetitive after awhile.

In all, I really enjoyed Zeus Grants Stupid Wishes. It's not the most detailed look at mythology. It's not the most accurate. But it is the funniest, and you'll probably be WAY better prepared to drunkenly explain how Zeus turned to lightning and killed the mortal he was banging. You know, next time that comes up.

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