The Goddess In Me: a review of Madeline Miller’s Circe

Circe Emile Levy
Depiction of the Goddess Circe, Emile Levy

There’s a brilliant lyric in Truth Hurts, the Lizzo song:

Yeah, I got boy problems, that’s the human in me
Bling bling, then I solve ’em, that’s the goddess in me

Luckily, it’s been playing on the radio here lately, and this lyric makes me think of a book I’ve recently read, Madeline Miller’s (also) brilliant novel, Circe, which is a retelling of the life of Circe, the goddess/nymph who lived among mortals, famed for her role in the Odyssey.

Circe explores the overlap between being human and being a goddess, which, to be fair, is basically all Classical Literature is. Stories of the gods and goddesses of Greek Mythology still resonate because they are timeless, not because they are ancient. The stories are fantastical, larger than life: but also deeply human. Stories of love, lust, jealousy, betrayal, revenge.

Circe has boy problems, family problems, all of it. She deals with these problems first as a child, then as a goddess, then as goddess, but also as a woman grown. The novel is, essentially, a coming of age story, rooted in mythology.

It is beautiful, inspiring, and will make you feel a little like a goddess.

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