This book will always be a 5 star read no matter how many times I revisit it, but here’s what I noticed rereading it as an adult.
Percy Jackson is about to be kicked out of boarding school…again. And that’s the least of his troubles. Lately, mythological monsters and the gods of Mount Olympus seem to be walking straight out of the pages of Percy’s Greek mythology textbook and into his life.
(Description from Amazon)
Let me start off by saying that Percy is one of the funniest and most relatable protagonists that I’ve ever read. Many people will already know this and have read the Percy Jackson series already but I like the idea of revisiting it under a critical lens. That is why we are here today.
The first thing that really struck me was that Percy is a 6th grader in this book! Like I knew that in my head, and as a middle schooler I was like, yeah totally, but as an adult I’m like no. Even if he is a demigod and what not, this is a ridiculous amount of responsibility for an 11-12 year old. I have a 6th grade nephew and I wouldn’t trust him to walk to the park and back, let alone the other side of the country. That is some wild stuff. Everyone will probably be like, but Grover? No. Grover is not much more mature than Percy and I would trust him less than my nephew. That probably sounds a little bit unfair but imagine yourself as a middle schooler. Would you be capable of doing the things Percy did?
Something else that stood out to me, in a good way, was that Chiron is not like other teachers/mentors. A theme that I’ve noticed in middle grade and YA books is that the teacher/mentor character is quick to blame or believe that the “new kid” has done wrong. Clarisse (bully) is quick to blame Percy when a hellhound is summoned, but Chiron (mentor) realizes that Clarisse is full of garbage, and why would Percy summon a hellhound on himself? I like to use the teachers in Harry Potter as a bad example of teachers/mentors, because they are always so quick to blame Harry. It makes me happy to realize that Chiron is not that dumb.
I also noticed that Riordan seemingly accurately describes outrage media. Percy gets in trouble everywhere he goes and in this book the news team isn’t far behind. It was funny because it’s ridiculous, but the media, much like stereotypical mentors, were quick to blame Percy and create this wild story about him and how he’s this unstable boy lighting the world on fire. As a kid I thought that there was no way the media could mix up the truth that bad, but as an adult I know that they definitely could and probably would.
As a kid this book made me laugh, and as an adult it made me laugh more. That’s what I love about this series. It balances the tone of a middle grade novel very well but also has content for older readers. It doesn’t incorporate any adult themes but the jokes translate well to an older audience. It’s not too kiddy is what I’m trying to get across. 10 years later it’s still a fun read.
Percy is still a 5/5 and probably always will be. Check back soon for the next installment.
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Have you read The Percy Jackson series before? If you did as a kid I highly suggest that you reread as an adult. Let me know what you think in the comments!