With a score of about 4 1/2 stars and over 15,000 reviews on Amazon, you would think that I would love the story. I didn’t like it. In “The Song of Achilles”, Madeline Miller retells a portion of the Iliad as seen through the eyes of Patroclus.
My biggest problem with the story was the broken character of Patroclus. He is an extremely unlikable character who constantly whines about being unloved. At one point, he injures another kid and rather than calling for help or trying to help the injured child he runs away and lets the child bleed out. He is exiled from his Kingdom, for the child’s death, and is sent to live with Peleus the father of Achilles.
While living with Achilles, the boys enjoy a friendship that blossoms into a sexual relationship. This relationship is contrary to the original Homeric tradition. Having said that, this sexual relationship is the core of the story with the Trojan War a backdrop. In short, “The Song of Achilles” is a gay love story.
All in all, I didn’t like the story. The characters were broken tragic characters and knowing how the story would end was like having the sword of Damocles hanging over my head. I give “The Song of Achilles” 1 star out of 5.