The Amateur Critic: The Song Of Achilles

In the darkness, two shadows, reaching through the hopeless, heavy dusk. Their hands meet, and light spills in a flood like a hundred golden urns pouring out of the sun.” 
~Madeline Miller, The Song of Achilles

2011

I don’t know why I decided to review this book. Maybe because its pride month. Maybe because I just finished reading it and have been recommending it to every single person I meet. Or maybe it’s my love for mythology. This book describes the story of Achilles told from the point of view of his lover and best friend Patroclus. It describes his journey growing up torn between love for his best friend and fear of his mother, Thetis.

This book took a modernized and easier version of the Iliad. One of the only differences was that the Iliad showed Patroclus to be a capable warrior while he seemed weaker in this. This is definitely one of my favorite books.

But that doesn’t mean it is suited for everyone. The story contains a lot of sexism, misogyny, violence, bloodshed and rape. However that’s how the society was and that cannot be changed.

Characters

Patroclus

I feel free to say that I did not like Patroclus in the beginning of the book. He seemed simple and stupid just as he described his mother. Although as the story progressed, I grew to realize that he had been oppressed a lot. His talents lay elsewhere and definitely wasn’t a sissy .His respect love and care for Achilles made me like him more.

Achilles

 Every other story I have read of Achilles described him as a cold blooded, ruthless killer and the greatest warrior. However, this story showed me his softer side – his love and care for Patroclus.

Final rant

This is like reading Romeo and Juliet. We all know the story, we all know what is going to happen and we all pray and pray that it doesn’t happen.

I can’t say enough about how much I love his book. It’s well researched, historically accurate and beautifully written.

I was listening to Talk Me Down by Troye Sivan while reading this and it made me cry

(Which is a good thing. I judge my books on the number of tears it makes me shed)

Ratings- 5/5

 

***

Please comment if you’ve read it and tell me how it was

Criticism is welcome.

***

Neha

 

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