Dion Isaacs (the reincarnation of Dionysius), Athena’s brother, is wreaking havoc.
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Author Guest Post
Introducing My Daughter to Greek Art
By Dana Hammer
When I wrote my first middle-grade novel, My Best Friend Athena, I have to admit, it was not because of my love of Greek Mythology. Sure, I’d read the required stories in high school, and I took some art classes in college that taught me about the different doric versus ionic columns and whatnot, but I was far from an expert, and not much of an enthusiast.
But while doing research for Athena, and the sequel, Fanny Fitzpatrick and the Brother Problem, I discovered there was a lot to love about the Greek pantheon. So when my family and I traveled to Tennessee for the holidays, I jumped at the opportunity to see the replica of the Parthenon in Nashville. Not only would I get to see the amazing Athena statue (as featured in the Percy Jackson movie) but I would get to introduce my daughter to classic art.
The structure itself is huge; much bigger than I expected. The statue of Athena is even larger. It is shiny and gold, and almost frightening in its massiveness. If it came to life it would kill us all. If it fell, it would crush all the visitors and liquify us like grapes. It is monstrous. It is beautiful. I cannot imagine the amount of labor it took to create it, but I’m guessing there were many injuries and possibly some deaths.
My daughter is ten years old. And of course, we have taken her to museums before, but not one that specifically focused on art of the ancient world. I figured she would be fascinated by the statues, impressed by the paintings, and enchanted with the mythical creatures like Pegasi and minotaurs.
But instead, after a half hour of taking in all this art and culture, my daughter leaned to me and whispered — “Why are there so many penises?”
Because I am a good mother who handles these delicate questions with sensitivity, intelligence, and aplomb, I responded with burst of laughter that startled the other visitors, who were calmly absorbing the art and not laughing about dicks. A man escorting his small child through the room gave me a dirty look, and I quickly stopped laughing.
My daughter continued.
“There are penises everywhere. Didn’t the Greeks wear clothes? Ever?”
“Isn’t it illegal to be naked in public? I’m pretty sure it’s illegal.”
She looked at her dad with suspicion. “Dad, you wouldn’t ever go around naked like that would you?”
“No,” he assured her.
That settled, we were able to leave the building and watch the water birds in the pond outside the building. Fortunately, this did not lead to any more genital issues.
Maybe your family is better than mine. Maybe you are all astute, sophisticated observers of architecture and sculpture. I can picture you now. After a trip to the Parthenon, you’ll go out and have a picnic that consists of home-grown organic produce, artisanal cheeses, and sparkling French water in actual glasses. You’ll discuss the art you saw, comparing and contrasting the replica Parthenon with the real one you visited on your family trip to Greece last summer. You’ll discuss the Greek pantheon, and how it differs from the Roman version, and the Egyptian version, and how polytheism and monotheism influenced the cultures in which they were practiced. You’ll all hug and decide to go home and read together by the fireplace or something.
Or maybe your family is like mine, and you’ll make dick jokes and throw Doritos to the ducks. Either way, you’ll have a nice time.
About the Book
Fanny Fitzpatrick and the Brother Problem
by Dana Hammer
Published 6 February 2024
Cinnabar Moth Publishing LLC
Genre: Middle Grade Greek Mythology
Page Count: 172
Add it to your Goodreads TBR!
Dion Isaacs (the reincarnation of Dionysius), Athena’s brother, is wreaking havoc. After to an unfortunate bee-venom poisoning at his wine business, he is down on his luck and crashing at Athena’s place. But the former god of wine, feasting, and excess is a bad influence on Fanny’s best friends, with his partying, wacky business schemes, and general debauchery. Sure, Dion is a fun guy. But there is such a thing as too much fun, and Fanny seems to be the only one who sees it.
Meanwhile, Fanny’s mother is suffering from hyperemesis gravidarum, which basically means she pukes all the time, because she’s pregnant. With her mom unable to work, her dad is taking extra shifts to make more money, and things are getting tense at home. Fanny is excited to be a big sister, but all this sickness and stress over money are starting to take their toll on her.
Can Fanny save her friends from Dion’s negative influence, while also solving her family’s money problems? Of course she can. She’s Fanny Fitzpatrick.
I hope Mom doesn’t have breast cancer. She would have told me about that though, right? You don’t hide cancer from your only daughter. That would be messed up. I get out of bed and pad down the hallway until I get to the bathroom. The puking is louder now, and I can hear Mom gasping between retches. I knock on the door.
“Mom? Are you OK?”
“I’m fine, Sweetie.”
Then she retches again.
“No you’re not Mom! You’re sick! Do you want some Sprite?”
Mom gives me Sprite when I’m nauseated, and it usually helps.
“Mom? I think you need to see a doctor. You’re not getting better.”
“Fanny! Go away!”
I don’t know what to do. My dad has already left for work, so he can’t help. I think about calling an ambulance, but then I remember that 911 is only for emergencies, and I don’t think this counts as an emergency.
“Mom, I’m gonna call an ambulance,” I say.
“Fanny, go decorate the tree!”
This stops me for a moment. Decorate the tree? Why?
“I’m not feeling up to it. Go decorate the Christmas tree. It’ll be a big help.”
I stand by the door, not knowing what to do. Is Mom trying to be tough, like the time she hurt her ankle and refused to go get X-rays, and she just limped around the house for a week until it swole up to like twice its size, and Dad finally made her go to the hospital, and it turned out she’d FRACTURED IT? Should I be like Dad and put my foot down and call an ambulance?
About the Author
Dana Hammer is a novelist, screenwriter and playwright. She has won over forty awards and honors for her writing, few of which generated income, all of which were deeply appreciated. She is not a cannibal, but she is the author of A Cannibals Guide to Fasting. Dana is also the author of middle grade fantasy My Best Friend Athena which was inspired by a desire to write something her 9 year old daughter could read.
Dana Hammer will be awarding a $10 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.a Rafflecopter giveaway
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