Title of the work
Country of the First Edition
Country/countries of popularity
First Edition Date
First Edition Details
Carolyn Hennesy, Pandora Gets Jealous. New York: Bloomsbury, 2008, 264 pp.
carolynhennesy.com (accessed: July 31, 2018)
Action and adventure fiction
Children (Female readers aged 8-12. Some previous knowledge of Greek mythology is required for full understanding of the text.)
Courtesy of Bloomsbury, publisher.
Author of the Entry:
Amanda Potter, Open University, email@example.com
Allison Rosenblum, Bar-Ilan University, firstname.lastname@example.org
Peer-reviewer of the Entry:
Susan Deacy, University of Roehampton, email@example.com
Elżbieta Olechowska, University of Warsaw, firstname.lastname@example.org
Lisa Maurice, Bar Ilan University, email@example.com
Daniel Nkemleke, University of Yaoundé 1, firstname.lastname@example.org
Weng Chen (Jade) (Illustrator)
, b. 1962
Carolyn Hennesy, born June 10, 1962, is an American actress, writer and campaigner for zoos. She trained at American Conservatory Theatre and the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, London as well as earning a dramatic scholarship to the California State University at Northridge. She studied with the Groundlings and became a member of the Sunday Company. She also trained at the ACME Comedy Theatre and was a founding member of the all-female improv troupe, Ovaryaction. In 2001, she received the Natalie Schafer Award for Outstanding Comedic Actress, and the Ovation Award in 2011 from the LA Stage Alliance. She has appeared in numerous films and television series, and is best known as an actress for the part of Diane Miller on US day time soap opera General Hospital. She has also played recurring roles in Cougar Town, Revenge, and vampire series True Blood. Although she has a popular 25+ year career in film and television, Hennesy is also an author. In 2011 she published a novel based on characters from General Hospital, The Secret Life of Damian Spinelli. Her series of children’s books based on the character of Pandora begins with Pandora Gets Jealous (2008), and continues with Pandora Gets Vain (2008), Pandora Gets Lazy (2009), Pandora Gets Heart (2010), Pandora Gets Angry (2011), Pandora Gets Greedy (2012) and Pandora Gets Frightened (2013). She is involved in "a number of causes including caring for our wounded warriors and helping those with debilitating physical issues regain their self-esteem, but chief among all causes is the issue of animal rescue"*. In addition, she teaches improvisational comedy, and has a flying trapeze act. In interview Hennesy says she drew on her own "notebook" from when she was thirteen in writing the novels.
Offical website (acccessed: February 1, 2018).
Interview with Carolyn Hennesy (acccessed: February 1, 2018).
Bio prepared by Amanda Potter, Open University, email@example.com, and Allison Rosenblum, Bar-Ilan University, firstname.lastname@example.org
* Author's official website (accessed: September 23, 2020).
This is the first installment in a series of books called Mythic Misadventures that takes the classic story of Pandora’s box and gives it a young, adventurous, partly contemporary twist – Pandora is Prometheus’ thirteen-year-old daughter. In Pandora Gets Jealous, she brings the box Zeus had given her father to school for her annual school project. When she accidentally unleashes all the evils inside, she is tasked with recapturing them all before the entire world is ruined.
In this first of a series of seven books, relating to the seven evils (Hennesy is drawing on the seven deadly sins rather than Hesiod’s Works and Days, where the evils (or ills) are not given a finite number, Pandora and her friends retrieve jealousy. In subsequent books in the series Pandora retrieves Vanity, Laziness (Sloth), Lust, Greed, Wrath and Fear. Unsurprisingly Hennesy also uses Pandora’s Box, rather than the jar from Hesiod, as the box is universally more familiar.
Pandora (Pandora Atheneus Andromaeche Helena, known as Pandy) has become a ‘maiden’ as she is aged thirteen, and wears a toga and a training girdle. She appears initially as a modern teenage girl, although she lives in ancient Athens. She is generally bored and gets annoyed when she has to babysit her younger brother Xander. She is concerned with her appearance (she gets pimples and has a ‘slight overbite’), she has a crush on a local boy, Tireseus the Younger, and would like to be invited to parties like the popular girls. She has two good friends, Alcie (Alcestis Artemisia Medusa, the niece of the Gorgon Medusa) and Iole, who also go to the Athena Maiden Middle School. She is underachieving at school. Every year students have a ‘Gods project’ to complete, by bringing an object to school as ‘an example of the enduring presence of the gods’ (p.13). Iole was cured from a fatal illness by Apollo, so is presenting herself as the object. Alcie’s father lost his toes in the last war, and as ‘wars are started by Ares’ she is presenting her father’s wooden toes. In previous years Pandora has presented a piece of her father Prometheus’ liver, preserved in a jar, from the many years when he was chained to a rock and an eagle was eating his liver as a punishment from Zeus for stealing fire for mankind. But this year Pandora wants to show something different.
The night before the project Pandora has been playing with her baby brother, and found a large ornate box with a smaller, plainer box inside, sealed with wax and Zeus’ seal. Pandora knew that this was the box entrusted to Prometheus containing the evils, and if the seal was ever broken then these evils would get out into the world. She decides that she will take this to school. After presenting it to her class to the amazement of her schoolmates, she is approached on the way home by two popular but malicious girls, Helen and Hippia who offer to invite Pandora, Alcie and Iole to ‘the pre-Bacchanalia party’, if they can look at the box up close. Pandora agrees, but tells them not to touch the seal. Once they have the box they touch the seal, and this melts away. Pandora pulls the box from the girls and smoke starts to come out of the box and fly up into the air. Helen and Hippia begin to shape-shift into many different creatures, in a scene reminiscent of Thetis’ shape-shifting to avoid being caught by Peleus (see Apollodorus Bibliotheka 3.13.5). Finally, ‘they turned into black legless salamanders’ (p. 63). Pandora shuts the box again, trapping a ‘fine silvery mist’ inside, which she later learns is ‘Hope’, and takes the box home, as the city of Athens is crumbling around her.
At home Prometheus knows what his daughter has done, and is extremely angry. Her mother Sybelline is struck by a lightning bolt and turned to ash. Hermes, friend of Prometheus from the past, arrives to take Prometheus and his household to Olympus. Prometheus, Pandora and servant Sabina are provided with winged sandals for the journey, and sent to sleep. On Olympus Pandora sees statues of the Titans, and realises that her father is a Titan, not just a man. The Olympian gods and goddesses are sitting around a teardrop-shaped table. Zeus gives Pandora six months to return the evils into the box without help from her family, to save her family from eternal torture. Hera gives Pandora a map, which she later learns is only revealed through her tears, and she and her family are returned to Athens. Meanwhile some of the Olympians meet with the intention of helping Pandora, without the knowledge of Hera, who wants Pandora to fail, because Pandora previously won an ‘oatie-cake’ sale contest against Hera’s great-granddaughter.
Hermes provides Prometheus with conch shells through which he can secretly speak to Pandora, and she sets off alone to Delphi, which is the first place on the map, to find Jealousy. Not far down the road she is joined by her friends Alcie (who now has two left feet and is unable to stop herself from saying what she thinks) and Iole, (whose skin is now covered with bumps containing wriggling creatures) and her dog Dido. On the way to Delphi the girls are met by Athena and Hephaestus who give Pandora a golden net in which to catch the evils and a small bust of Athena that will provide wisdom.
On reaching Delphi the girls take the back entrance to the temple and find that there are now three High Priestesses taking the role of one, since the temple has been inundated with visitors. The original priestess, Callisto, has Harpies attack the girls before she captures them and aims to sacrifice them to Apollo. Iole is suspended above a sacrificial fire pit, but Pandora uses her new-found powers to burn her own bonds and free herself, then to put out the fire. Callisto is filled with jealousy for her fellow priestesses, Nera and Ino, who both have children, and the jealousy is causing her to have convulsions. When this happens, a dark ‘sludge’ comes out of her mouth, transforms into a rock and is captured in the net, after Pandora gets a small taste of the jealousy herself. With the help of an Egyptian temple acolyte the girls establish that their next destination is Alexandria where they want to find Vanity, and they set off on their next adventure.
The Mythic Misadventures branches out from the original story in Greek mythology about Prometheus stealing fire for mankind, and being punished by Zeus, he also made to guard a box with seven evils in it. The series takes many of the elements from Greek mythology and adapts them to the modern world, making them more accessible (with alterations of places) for a young contemporary audience. Like many books for children, this work employs a hero-quest motif. It also introduces a new angle to Greek mythology by removing the girl from the role of victim or minor character, and placing her in center-stage as the hero of the story. In this first installment, Pandora learns about taking responsibility for her mistakes; how important it is to have good friends at your side as well as a good support system, and just how dangerous jealousy can be. The heroine is a young child, Pandora, Prometheus’ 13-year-old daughter, who is given great responsibility; she is tasked with chasing down the evils she has accidentally unleashed, in order to save the world. In this version of the story she starts off as a disobedient child, but becomes a heroine, as she goes on a hero-quest to put the evils back into the box. Hera as an antagonist to Pandora is likely to be influenced by her role in relation to Hercules in Greek mythology
The series incorporates lessons in history, mythology, social skills, and morality in a light-hearted way. It is filled with characters from and references to Greek mythology that many of the young readers of the book would not necessarily understand without looking them up. For example in ‘mandatory tragic chorus practice’ the young students in Athens ‘sing the story of Oedipus the king: Don’t kill your father, don’t marry your mother, don’t poke out your eye (p. 18). These references seem to be aimed at an adult readership. The book is an entertaining and comic read for both adults and young readers with an interest in Greek mythology. Other Greek characters that are mentioned are Hercules, Jason and Perseus, who young readers may have come across from storybook versions of Greek myths aimed at children. Bellerophon appears as a character riding on Pegasus and fighting a Chimera. The author draws on different traditions (including Christian and Roman as well as ancient Greek) but there is no evidence that any ancient sources have been directly used, as all the details included could have been obtained from modern books and encyclopedia of Greek myths.
Young female readers have enjoyed the book, see reviews on goodreads.com (accessed: July 31, 2018).