Echlin's translation, Inanna: From the Myths of Ancient Sumer, is a gorgeous little book. I bought it because I was looking for a rendition of the Inanna myth suitable for middle-school-aged girls. Despite what other Amazon reviewers' wrote, I thought Echlin's translation would embrace healthy female sexuality and serve as an unusually positive influence for girls coming of age. Though I now believe most parents will find Echlin's account too sexually explicit for a pre-teen audience, older girls and women will likely appreciate the accessible language and lovely illustrations, which present a fierce female character who enjoys the pleasures of sex within the context of marriage.
For those unaware, according to most accounts in Greek mythology, a parallel heroine, Persephone, an innocent girl, was sucked into the underground by being raped. While down below, Persephone grew and matured by enduring hardships and trials, and returned to be in the world for half the year as a more enlightened person. More recently, some storytellers say that Persephone stumbled into hell while picking flowers, which serves as a "cleaned up" version suitable for children.
In contrast, the Sumerian Goddess Inanna chose to explore the darkness below in order expand her consciousness. Inanna was a young married deity who discovered guidance and uncovered wisdom during and after her intentional descent to the underworld. As an ancient goddess, Inanna embodied traits we admire today. She was emboldened to make choices about her destiny, explored and appreciated her sexuality, wisely used her intelligence for good, and willingly undertook adventures and self-discovery. She suffered, as all do, but was not a victim (in Persephone's case, a victim of an uncaring, or some would say cruel, father). Therefore, most contemporary women in the West can more readily identify with Inanna and/or see her as a symbol of positive female strength and empowerment.
I highly recommend Echlin's and Wolfsgruber's work for readers familiar with Sumer's Inanna, and for those who enjoy myths but don't yet know of Inanna's grace. Echlin effectively streamlines language from another time for today's reader without losing the myth's integrity. Wolfsgruber's illustrations corroborate Inanna's journey in fresh, vibrant picture-form, which gives us a glimpse of Ancient Sumer. Really splendid!