STARRED REVIEW
July 2015

Greek and American traditions comically collide

By Annie Liontas
Let Me Explain You is about the American dream: the good, the bad, the ugly and the hilariously relatable. It’s one family’s story of an old world clashing with a modern one. Thick Greek coffee goes up against Starbucks; microwave cereal stands alongside freshly butchered lamb; arranged marriages end in divorce; and traditions buckle against everything from homosexuality to Facebook.
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Let Me Explain You is about the American dream: the good, the bad, the ugly and the hilariously relatable. It’s one family’s story of an old world clashing with a modern one. Thick Greek coffee goes up against Starbucks; microwave cereal stands alongside freshly butchered lamb; arranged marriages end in divorce; and traditions buckle against everything from homosexuality to Facebook.

Stavros Stavros Mavrakis is a self-made man (kind of) who emigrated from Greece. Initially, he’s a pushy bully of a character. Sure, his rants and unwanted advice are funny, but he’s overbearing and incredibly selfish. It’s no wonder his ex-wives and his three grown daughters want nothing to do with him or the diners he built from nothing.

But Stavros isn’t just obsessed with his own life; his death haunts him as well. When he becomes convinced he’s going to die within a week, he puts his affairs in order—starting with an email that points out the perceived failures of everyone he cares about.

As much as his children want to ignore him, they can’t. Stavros’ email has the whole family re-examining their lives and their family relationships (or lack thereof). It also brings them back to the diner full of the food of their heritage and memories of their painful past.

Philadelphia-based writer Annie Liontas tells her story masterfully. We’re invited into the family’s inside jokes, and we laugh, hurt and cry with the characters as they peel away the family drama and generational divides and, somewhat unexpectedly, find love at the center of their story.

 

This article was originally published in the July 2015 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

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Let Me Explain You

Let Me Explain You

By Annie Liontas
Scribner
ISBN 9781476789088

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