Stavros Stavros Mavrakis is the patriarch of a dysfunctional and highly opinionated Greek immigrant family, living in New Jersey. He is the proud owner of Gala Diner, father to three daughters and the ex-husband to a handful of ex-wives. After having a premonition of his death in exactly ten days, he writes an emotionally heated email to his family outlining his thoughts and final wishes. While for Stavros these are dark times, his family and friends, however, are taking the news of his impending death lightly, immune to his frequently absurd, overbearing and dramatic outbursts. When the tenth day finally dawns, and the events of this tumultuous day are revealed, the Mavrakis clan is changed forever.
In Let Me Explain You, Annie Liontas has eloquently captured the struggles of immigrants and their families as they try to make a new and better life for themselves in their new country. As a child of immigrants, I understand that struggle and the pull between the new and old world that children often face. My favourite parts of Let Me Explain You were in fact the sections where the author describes Stavros’ and Dina’s childhood, youth and final journey to America.
Unfortunately, this was about all I really enjoyed. I found Stavros to be overbearing and ridiculous, unnecessarily difficult and at times downright unbalanced. Instead of adding to the story for its potential comedic value, his character was so over the top that it was actually quite a detractor to my enjoyment. His daughters on the other hand were better developed in terms of evoking sympathy in the reader, and the author has made them much more realistic and believable.
In the end, Let Me Explain You did not live up to the hype of being laugh out loud funny which is a shame because the potential was there (My Big Fat Greek Wedding ring any bells?). There were definitely moments that tug at my heartstrings but those were also few and far between. Would I recommend this book? Maybe, but it’s definitely not on top of my list.
Thank you to NetGalley and Scribner for providing me an advanced reader copy in exchange for an honest review.