George O'Connor: Hera: The Goddess and Her Glory

Hera: The Goddess and her Glory - George O'Connor

My 8-year-old Greek-myth-obsessed daughter loved this book, and pressed it into my hands saying I HAD to read it. That's a pretty strong recommendation!

I love Hera, and I learned a lot about her here than I knew before. Most of what I learned was in the terrific footnotes, however, and not in the story. 40 out of the 66 pages of this book about Hera are actually about Heracles. Heracles has a great story! Many books and movies (and cheesy tv shows, don't get me started) have been made about Heracles. But I really wanted a book about Hera!

To be fair, I don't think this is entirely O'Connor's fault. The myths that we have today are mostly short vignettes about the awful behaviour of the gods. It's not like there is a long and interesting narrative about Hera out there that O'Connor deliberately avoided. And I love that he consulted "women's stories" about Hera to fill out more of her story and to understand her true importance to ancient Greek culture. I just wish he had found enough there to keep the focus of the story on Hera directly, instead of through her manipulation of Heracles.

Still, it's nice to find a book arguing for the integrity and importance of a major god (who is usually dismissed as a bitchy buzzkill) in your daughter's hands. And I enjoyed it too, so, recommended.