Greek Myths Western Style

Greek Myths Western Style: Toga Tales With an Attitude by Barbara McBride-Smith.
Little Rock, AR: August House, 1998. ISBN 0-87483-524-0. $14.95 128 pp.

"Dysfunctional.? Nah. Just freelance fruit loops with bizarre passions."

Let's say that you grew up with stories of the Greek myths and you figure you're pretty well acquainted with them. Or maybe you've avoided them all these years because they're just not of interest to you, not relevant to today's life and times. Or maybe you have a class of students whose eyes glaze over when thev hear the word mythology ." Well hold on pardner. You're about to meet the Olympians as you've never dreamed of them. Fresh from the imagination of good ol' girl Barbara McBride-Smith, inspired by her mentor Dale Maxwell, come 14 wild and wacky retellings of some of the best known Greek myths.

Meet the Metheus brothers: Pro and his little brother Epi. Say howdy to Papa Zeus but mind you don't meander too close to that barbecue pit where he hoards fire.

Watch out for the Argonauts -good lookin' boys but not one of them with an IQ bigger than his neck size. And keepy-our distance from Minos and his family. Dysfunctional? Nah, says McBride Smith, just freelance fruitloops with bizarre passions.

You'll run into Theseus, who had a few cogs without a matching ratchet, Hera who is hard as woodpecker lips, and Medusa who sets the standard for bad hair days. McBride-Smith is no fly-by-night myth twister. She is an award-winning, nationally known teller and a library information specialist, and an instructor at Phillips Theological Seminary in Oklahoma. Beneath the flippant, folksy, exterior of these retellings lies a genuine knowledge of, and respect for, the myths.

Part of what keeps contemporary readers /listeners at arms length from the myths is the
cuItural difference. These retellings place the stories firmly in in North America, in Texas, and make it possible to enter into the tales more quickly. Rewritten in this manner, the myths take on a new life.

Familiar scenes are viewed with fresh eyes and readers are caught up in the cheeky presentation of the passions of the gods. Once familiar with the gist of the story, the curiosity to find out how the traditional stories play out will lead readers to textbook mythology. And if it doesn't? What if this is the only version of the myths that readers ever meet? Well, at least they'll have a nodding acquaintance with the tales and they'll have had a rib-tickling read.
Perhaps most fully appreciated by those who are already familiar with the stories, the humour is still accessible to those meeting the gods for the first time--and I defy anyone who meets the Olympians in these stories to ever forget them.

Augment mythology texts with this book and Jane Cahill's Her Kind; Stories of Women from Greek Mythology (reviewed in Vol. 2, No.2) and we'll have a rebirth of myth telling for the new millennium.

If you'd like to hear some of these stories in the teller's own drawl, look for her tape Greek or Whut?

To order
Barbara McBride Smith
918-712-1528 (home)
918-407-4307 (cell)

The Second Story Review, Vol 3, No. 3, Sep 1998
Mot de passe oublié?