Book Review: Circe by Madeline Miller
Could also be called Circe and All the Fuckboys That Played Her(looking @ you Odysseus! )
Be yourself; Everyone else is already taken. “It is a common saying that women are delicate creatures, flowers, eggs, anything that may be crushed in a moment’s carelessness. If I had ever believed it, I no longer did.” Be yourself; Everyone else is already taken. — Circe.
Most of us vaguely remember Circe from The Odyssey. She is a hiccup in the journey, a witch that turns Odysseus’ crew into pigs. History, even in mythology, is told by the winners. Madeline Miller takes this small portion of The Odyssey and expands it to a tragic, captivating tale.
This retelling is a story of resilience, agency, and femininity. Although Circe is a goddess and a witch, her story is so tragically human. Miller revamps her character into one that is compassionate and cruel, loving and vengeful. She is a creature of contrasts, made of environment and circumstances. There is such an interesting balance of “nature vs nurture’ in this book. We see Circe harden into a powerful witch, but who at the end of the day, ultimately just craves love and companionship. In Circe, Miller tells us that there is no shame in embracing our soft edges but there is no shame in being a cutthroat rebel either. You don’t have to choose sides and you don’t have to conform to anyone’s idea of who you should be.
“Humbling women seems to me a chief pastime of poets. As if there can be no story unless we crawl and weep.” Circe
Like The Song of Achilles, this Greek myth retelling is ethereal, subversive, and genius. Madeline Miller’s passion for the subject material is admirable and inspiring.