Pandora Gets Jealous, by Carolyn Hennesy, is a truly delightful book. The overall plot of the book is fresh and enjoyable, Hennesy’s language is an intriguing mix of ancient and modern, and her humor is truly entertaining. I was giggling through much of the book. Her protagonist is relateable, and the setting is marvelously colorful.
In Hennesy’s story, 13-year old Pandora Atheneus Andromaeche Helena (or Pandy, as she’s known) is the daughter of wayward Titan Prometheus, who now lives in Athens and works building atriums. Pandy’s mother is a mortal who works in Zeus’s Temple as his personal assistant. With parents like that, a lot is expected from poor awkward Pandy. Pandy attends Athena Maiden Middle School, where she is desperate to come up with a fantastic idea for the school project. The theme of the project was “the enduring presence of the gods in our lives,” and Pandy decides she is going to take the best thing ever: a mysterious box that Zeus himself had given to her father. Inside, horrible evils were trapped, and it was Prometheus’s duty to guard them. If they were ever to be released, mankind would suffer horribly for all of eternity.
She wasn’t planning on opening it, of course. She was going to be very, very careful. But two of the Maiden Middle School’s most popular girls convince her to let them have a look at it. Before she knew it, all the evils Zeus had trapped inside were released to wreck havoc on the world. Pandora and her father are summoned to Olympos, and as her punishment she must track down all the evils released and recapture them. Skinny, mousy-haired, insecure Pandy, is sent on an quest that will change her forever. At the last second her best friends Iole and Alcie join her, and the three girls and Pandy’s loyal dog Dido set off to capture the first evil: Jealousy. Along the way they secretly receive help from Athena and Hephaistos. Their journey leads them to the Temple of Apollo at Delphi, where Jealousy has possessed the legendary Oracle.
Pandora Gets Jealous is a great way to introduce kids to Greek Mythology and the Gods of Olympos. More than that, it is a great romp. There are many allusions to modern culture, not least of which is that the major evils released are the Seven Deadly Sins (although they aren’t called that). Hermes has a set of cell phones made from couch shells, Demeter’s contribution to the box of evils was “cooties”, and among the more amusing moments was the note of apology that Pandy had to write to the headmaster of her school after opening it. I’m looking forward to the next book, Pandora Gets Vain, which will be set in Alexandria, Egypt, the home of my own spiritual path.
[Amanda Sioux Blake, 23, has been a Hellenic Pagan and devotee of Athena for ten years. She currently resides in South Bend, Indiana, with the various animals that find their way to her. She is the author of Ink In My Veins: A Collection of Contemporary Pagan Poetry, Songs of Praise: Hymns to the Gods of Greece and the forth-coming Journey to Olympos: A Modern Spiritual Odyssey. She also runs her own online clothing store Otherworld Creations, specializing in fantasy and Pagan designs; mostly Greek Gods but a few Egyptian designs are on the way.]