The Meaning of Myth: With 12 Greek Myths Retold and Interpreted by a Psychiatrist by Neel Burton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
The Meaning of Myth
I have always been fascinated with deconstructing myths, with most of my interest trying to unlock the context and intent of the story. I got my start in this endeavor through the Comparative Mythology efforts of Dr. Joseph Campbell and this has a very similar feel to it. The Meaning of Myth fits well into this interest with the first part explaining some of the nominal differences between myth, legend, fable, parable, et al. and I learned a fair bit from that. It also covers some of the why we create myth and how they fit into human psychology. IN that regard, it was very similar to another excellent book that focused on the psychological impact of certain literary devices: Wonderworks: The 25 Most Powerful Inventions in the History of Literature and I would highly recommend reading both together if you can..
The second half was where Dr. Burton attempts to provide specific details on some of the more well known Greek Myths … unfortunately I found this section to be more hit or miss for me; some of the myths were not really that specific (more general), which is fine, but it seemed to give the whole work more of a disorganized feel than I was expecting … and also seemed to have not gone into as much detail as I was expecting (or it was not clear/obvious to me). I probably was expecting too much on the human psyche explanations … over all it is a short book and still worth a read. I would probably give it 3.5* over all; however, I am rounding up based on subject matter AND availability on Kindle Unlimited.
I was given this free advance reader copy (ARC) ebook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.
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My Ratings Explained ...
- [ ***** ] Amazing Read - Perfect story, exciting, engrossing, well developed complex characters, solid plot with few to no holes, descriptive environments and place settings, great mystery elements, realistic dialogue, believable reactions and behaviors; a favorite that I can re-read many times.
- [ **** ] Great Read - Highly entertaining and enjoyable, exciting storyline, well developed characters and settings, a few discrepancies but nothing that can’t be overlooked. Some aspect of the story was new/refreshing to me and/or intriguing. Recommended for everyone.
- [ *** ] Good Read - Solid story with a 'good' ending, or has some other redeeming feature. Limited character development and/or over reliance on tropes. Noticeable discrepancies in world building and/or dialog/behavior that were distracting. I connected enough with the characters/world to read the entire series. Most of the books I read for fun are here. Recommended for fans of the genre.
- [ ** ] Okay Read - Suitable for a brief, afternoon escape … flat or shallow characters with little to no development. Over the top character dialog and/or behavior. Poor world building with significant issues and/or mistakes indicating poor research. Excessive use of trivial detail, info dumps and/or pontification. Any issues with the story/characters are offset by some other aspect that I enjoyed. Not very memorable. May only appeal to a niche group of readers. Recommended for some (YMMV).
- [ * ] Bad Read - Awkward and/or confusing writing style. Poor world building and/or unbelievable (or unlikeable) characters. Victimization, gaslighting, blatant abuse, unnecessary violence, child endangerment, or any other highly objectionable behaviors by Main characters. I didn't connect with the story at all; significant aspects of this story irritated me enough that I struggled to finished it. Series was abandoned. Not recommended.