BOOK TOUR REVIEW: Dead Beautiful by Melanie Dugan
Dead Beautiful is a contemporary retelling of the classic Greek myth of Persephone. This was the myth the Greeks used to explain how we came to have the change of seasons. In the traditional version of the myth, Persephone – the daughter of Demeter, Goddess of agriculture and fertility, and Zeus, the top god on Olympus – is abducted one day by Hades, God of the Underworld (which is also called Hades).
Demeter refuses to do her job until her daughter is returned to her, and the earth is plunged into the first winter: no crops grow, cold settles on the earth. It turns out that while in Hades, Persephone has eaten six pomegranate seeds. As a result, for six months of the year, she must live with Hades; this is when it is fall and winter on earth. For six months she lives with her mother – then we have spring and summer.
Dead Beautiful asks, what if Persephone, like many adolescent girls, didn’t tell her mother the whole truth? What if Hades didn’t abduct her? What if she made the decision to go with him? (She is, after all, 18 millennia old.)
The result is a novel that examines the complex dynamics between mothers and daughters, and explores the challenges faced by young women as they move from childhood into adulthood and independence. It is smart, fast-paced, funny and profound; a book that will appeal to women young and old, to mothers and daughters.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
If you have even a passing knowledge of Greek mythology, then you know the legend of the forbidden love between Hades and Persephone. Dead Beautiful is a refreshing retelling of that story, with points of view from several other people affected, including Zeus, Demeter, and Hades himself.
This was such a cool and fun story! I am a huge mythology geek and I love when authors put a new spin on a timeless tale. In this book, Persephone is more like a willful teenager who is tired of living under her mother’s thumb. So when she catches the eye of the sexy, dark, and mysterious Hades, she immediately falls for him. Without a thought of how will might affect anyone else, she goes to live with him in the Underworld and become his wife.
Meanwhile, Demeter, Persephone’s mother is going crazy looking for her–much to the chagrin of the other gods and the people on Earth. I love that we see how Persephone’s disappearance had so many ramifications, much like so many decisions teenagers make on a whim.
My favorite part of this book was the personification of the gods. Zeus is the big boss with an annoying son and cold wife; Hades is basically a people manager. Persephone is an afflicted teenager who is tired of spending every single second with her overbearing mother. The gods are not as all powerful as they would like mortals to believe.
I truly enjoyed this story and the author’s writing style. This book was a fast, entertaining read.
About the Author
Melanie Dugan was born in San Francisco, California and now lives with her family in Kingston, Ontario, Canada. She is the author of two previous novels, Sometime Daughter(“a stunning debut,” Kingston Whig-Standard) and Revising Romance (“heartwarming, amusing and … downright sexy,” Midwest Book Review). She is all books, all the time: She has worked in several library systems and currently works in her hometown library, she has worked at a bookstore, and was Associate Publisher at Quarry Press, a small press in Kingston. She has also worked as a journalist and in that capacity has written many book reviews. Her short stories have been shortlisted for several awards.
Visit Melanie at her website.