ARC Review: Pandora’s Jar

Hello, fellow readers!

It has been quite some time since I’ve posted. A combination of life, work, and an epic reading slump contributed to my lack of blogging, but I am determined to pick things up in 2022.

Today’s review is a witty look at women in Greek myths. Let’s get to it.

  • Title: Pandora’s Jar: Women in the Greek Myths
  • Author: Natalie Haynes
  • ISBN: 9781509873111
  • Genre: History, Adult Non-Fiction
  • Publisher: Picador
  • Pages: 320
  • Release Date: March 1, 2022

The tellers of Greek myths—historically men—have routinely sidelined the female characters. When they do take a larger role, women are often portrayed as monstrous, vengeful or just plain evil—like Pandora, the woman of eternal scorn and damnation whose curiosity is tasked with causing all the world’s suffering and wickedness when she opened that forbidden box. But, as Natalie Haynes reveals, in ancient Greek myths there was no box. It was a jar . . . which is far more likely to tip over.

I took a few ancient history classes in college, so I’ve read many of the stories referenced in this book. Though I love some of the characters and stories of Greek mythology, the translations are often so difficult for me to get through. Natalie Haynes, on the other hand, makes these stories approachable.

It was very interesting how the stories of these Greek women morphed depending on the writer and the time in which they written. For example, Pandora originally had a jar, but it eventually became the box with which we are familiar today.

No doubt, a lot of the topics touched on in Pandora’s Jar are difficult. As Haynes reminds readers often, it’s a mistake to apply our modern standards to these characters. Readers must be prepared to face stories of murder, kidnapping, and rape. The Greek gods and goddesses often misbehaved, as did the mortals. While this book is often entertaining, it can also be difficult to read.

I love Natalie Haynes! Her witty commentary, her writing style and her general love for all things Greek made Pandora’s Jar such an enjoyable read. Yes, there were some difficult topics, but Haynes handled them with an equal amount of respect and levity.

I received a copy of this book via NetGalley and I am leaving this review voluntarily.

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