I don’t know where to put this letter. If I slip it behind the front cover and you see it first, my opinion may stop you from reading a book you could potentially love. If I put it at the back, you may curse me for not warning you in advance about a book you hated. So… I’ll put it in the middle and if you agree with me, you can cut your losses. If you disagree, keep reading.
I was sooo excited to read Love in the Time of Global Warming. After all, it IS supposed to be “a stunning re-imagining of Homer’s Odyssey“. It even says so on the back cover. So, after waiting for a month for it to arrive, and after passing on two other books at the top of my book pile, I can now officially drown that excitement and say I wholeheartedly disagree.
I don’t mean to be snarky, but reading Love in the Time of Global Warming was an exercise in frustration. What I thought would be a clever concept (matching episodes from a post-apocalyptic world to their Odyssean parallels) came out like someone trying to learn to drive stick: in big, heaving chunks that jar the passenger. Too forced and contrived (and I won’t cut it slack because it’s YA; I’m tired of that excuse). But at the core, the biggest problem is that in order to appreciate the book, you really need to have read Homer. And if you’ve read Homer, you will be disappointed by Block’s take on it.
Do yourself a favor – go read the real thing. The Odyssey is a wonderful tale, and worth every hour spent reading. I recommend the Rieu translation for the prose and the Fagles‘ translation for its poetic meter. And, if you’ve already read Homer, go read it again, or try Margaret Atwood’s The Penelopiad instead.