Publishing Date: July 14, 2015
Pages: 352 pages
The Premise: From the newly debuted Annie Liontas, comes her first novel, Let Me Explain You. The story follows the Mavrakis family patriarch, Stavros who believes that he has ten days to live. To prepare for this, he writes an email to his ex-wife and their three daughters together, offering some advice on how they should make their life better. All of them dismiss this letter thinking that Stavros is acting out to seek attention. Everything changes however when Stavros does go missing and his family are forced to consider the possibility that perhaps he was right about his premonition of death.
My overall thoughts and review: When I first started this book, it opens up with the email that Stavros sends off and I was kind of shocked by just how "crazy" Stavros came across in the letter. It was clear to see why his family chose to laugh it off. I was immediately struck by Liontas' writing and how she was able to convey Stavros' voice phonetically. There were many laugh out loud moments with some things Stavros had said, but the way he was written, it really felt as if the character was coming off the pages. It was so easy to imagine the characters and the settings because Liontas offers so much detail, but also a lot was said through dialogue. I like that the novel offers perspectives from all the generations and in a way speaks to the struggles of family dynamics. Liontas pushes it further by offering the dynamics of immigrant families and what it means to be and live. Some moments of the book, I was quite surprised how far Liontas exactly pushed it, because let's be real for a moment: Stavros can be pretty ignorant and just all-around not likeable in some moments. But that only demonstrates how strong Liontas' writing is. She is able to convey hilarious laugh-out-loud moments and also moments that really tug at your heartstrings and make you sad, all at the same time. I am not going to spoil the plot for you, but know that the book does shift from past to present, offering many perspectives and memories that put the entire picture together. Some internal monologue moments can be a bit hard to follow, so I had to slow down at some parts to really get a grasp on those sections. My favorite character overall was definitely Stavroula. I think the book is a wonderful read for those looking for a "family saga" type of book that focuses on the hardships of being an immigrant, family relationships, and what it means to be "you" - I really enjoyed it and I would highly recommend it. This is a wonderful debut novel for Liontas and I will be sure to check out her future books!
My rating of the book: ✮✮✮✮ (4/5 stars)
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Disclaimer: A copy of this book was sent to me by Simon and Schuster Canada for consideration/review. All opinions are my own.