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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mad dogs and...err...Scotsmen...
This planet can get tiresome when every Amazon village, Turkish bazaar and Inuit skidoo is infested with some celebrity or other experiencing staged stunts on our behalf.
It's not that I'm not grateful for their slapping a whole world of culture between two halves of a bap for our easy consumption.
But in an age when it is trendy to talk of global villages and...
Published 15 months ago by Pip H

versus
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Driving over Lemons
I purchased this book because of the reviews and because I could relate to it. We too travelled to Greece in a Fiesta with a dog in the footwell The couple in the book came across to me as irritating and self opinionated. They seem to spend their time criticising other people who have chosen to live in Greece. I,m certainly not a fan of expats and cant say I mix with them...
Published 15 months ago by ian tattersall


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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mad dogs and...err...Scotsmen..., 22 Sep 2013
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This review is from: Things Can Only Get Feta: Two Journalists and Their Crazy Dog Living Through the Greek Crisis (Paperback)
This planet can get tiresome when every Amazon village, Turkish bazaar and Inuit skidoo is infested with some celebrity or other experiencing staged stunts on our behalf.
It's not that I'm not grateful for their slapping a whole world of culture between two halves of a bap for our easy consumption.
But in an age when it is trendy to talk of global villages and Karl Pilkington, sometimes the palate can get a little too accustomed to stale cheese slices.
So thank God for feta.
And mouldy cow bones and swirling incense and goat turds.
The author does not set out to do more than record a year in rural Greece, but what an engaging escape it is from the sanitised polystyrene of celeb TV travelogues.
Marjory McGinn - with her convivial style and just enough leftfield wit to keep readers on their toes - reminds us that life, language and love can only be richly experienced with boots (and paws) on the ground.
And it's that truth which makes this immensely likeable memoir such compelling reading.
More than simple places and faces, it's a tale of human fears, friendships and foibles against a backdrop of enticing kafenion culture but the disorientation of a fiendish foreign tongue and startlingly alien customs.
The author pulls no punches and yet the book retains a warm optimism and sunny lightness which, I'd imagine, would make it an ideal beach read.
(And, as a sucker for Jack Russells, Wallace's prickly presence is the dog biscuit on the cake for me!)
Did I fall head-over-heels for Greece? Can't say that I did.
But, as all good books do, flipping the final page stirred a restlessness to experience more of the wide world for oneself.
Terrific.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A re Elladitsa!, 15 Jun 2014
This review is from: Things Can Only Get Feta: Two Journalists and Their Crazy Dog Living Through the Greek Crisis (Paperback)
As a Brit/Greek this book was always going to sit well with me. As a freelance journalist myself, with a penchant for the sublime horizons of Greece's sunset as an "office" backdrop and a huge soft spot for the Greek community lifestyle, Marjory's adventure stirred a misty eyed longing for me to do the same.

Even if you don't already have an informed understanding of the Greek idiosyncrasies and cultural habits which are very distinct, you won't be alienated with this book because there's always an explanation or British perspective framing all the experiences. What was hilarious for me was to read about the local reactions in Greek. Because I know how easy it is to mix up words in Greek (I had massive struggles during my youth trying to master the zillion ways to write the letter 'e' or conjugating the 7 syllable verbs) Marjory and Jim's run in with linguistic slip ups were comedy gold for me. I take my hat off to them though because it's a very intimidating language and for them to go head forth and make every effort (Angeliki's cafe...Wallace, the good "angouri" moment...tears, so many tears with this one!) to adapt and they did so successfully is something to commend because most Brits go and create their own Britain away from home but they didn't.

As they journey around the Mani and it's vicinity, Marjory details their trips with lots of historical insight tied in with their very funny Wallace related challenges and encounters with the ever so unpredictable but ultimately friendly Greek folk. Marjory's adeptness at humour is winning, especially in this very Greek context.

My mama is Greek and my dad is English, so my household had the noise of the former and a touch of reserve from the latter but every summer our time spent in Greece was always frappe and Thalassa filled with family and friends. As a Greek speaker and someone who has spent a great deal in Greece without living there but experienced enough to make a sound judgement, it's a country which is plagued with a poor system but what gets me every time is its natural beauty and organic living that can be had. However when you need to go through the endless of bureaucracy of actually getting things done, your brain can fry. Again, I bow to Marjory and Jim for putting up with it and braving the casualness of the customer service in Greece. But there's only so much you can criticise because the redeeming factor is all around you in all the oozing light and charming surroundings- which Marjory describes with so much heart and sensory skill.

By the end of the book I really wanted to have Margarita, Dimitri and Vasili for some parea to talk about their journey. If you want to take the plunge and head to Greece, take note of this excellent book and laugh out loud.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars AN ENGAGING AND ENTERTAINING STORY OF "INTRUDERS" IN MANI, 2010-2011., 21 April 2014
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This review is from: Things Can Only Get Feta: Two Journalists and Their Crazy Dog Living Through the Greek Crisis (Paperback)
When I came across this book title, I recalled a stand-up comedy presented in the 2013 Fringe Edinburgh Festival under the title “Feta with the Queen”, by the London based Katerina Vrana, and the good laugh and fun we had with its witty and humorous approach to stereotypes, relating to Greece or the U.K., when one crosses borders.

This book provides a very different, though quite rewarding, perspective of the well-illustrated experiences of two British journalists who resolved to relocate themselves and their little dog from a Scottish village to a village in the hills of Mani, in Southern Peloponnese,Greece, in May 2010. They conceived it to be “… a year’s sun kissed adventure” and an attempt to … escape from a deep British recession, especially in the newspaper industry. They were aware at the time that “… negative stories on Greece were not in short supply”. They believed, though, that they would be based in Southern Peloponnese safely away from “ … the vortex of angry protests” which mostly affected the center of Athens, near the Parliament.

This is not probably a book for someone who wishes to have a carefree all-inclusive holiday or for running a holiday in a cosmopolitan style. Even to them, though, the book may provide good insight into cultural perceptions or misunderstandings and appreciation of virtues or vicissitudes in Greece.
It is an excellent induction for all those who may consider staying or touring the Mani part of Southern Peloponnese or any comparable part of Greece, such as the hills in Naxos or in Crete or even green Skopelos. The penetrating eye of the author points out to the reader the hilarious pitfalls that lie ahead of the unwary in terms of attitudes of ordinary locals in the Greek countryside.
This book is worth buying and is enjoyable for its witty, humorous accounts whilst it is also constructive in the approach of the author to what would appear to be wrong or outdated or just fanciful practices by locals or foreigners in or near their “adopted” village in the Mani region.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Captures the Greek personality, 28 Jan 2014
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I know the Greeks of Crete better than the mainland but this reminded me of the parts of the Greek personality that I love, and, as an English person, find frustrating. It made me laugh, wish I was there and increase my determination to move there. I also now want to explore the Peloponnese and the Mani region in particular. Well written, engaging and obviously form the heart. Despite the "cheesy" title (couldn't resist that one!) it is a fantastic book that all Greekophiles should read and it makes a change from the many stories of people who moved there in the 70's as it is up to date and reflects a Greece that still exists.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant read, 11 Dec 2013
By 
Mrs. J. Clegg (England) - See all my reviews
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Very well wriiten and very entertaining. I have a particular love of the Mani so really loved reading about their perspective of living in the Mani because we are looking for own adventure there in the near future. My only complaint was the rather abrupt ending, I was looking forward to reading about their further adventures when they moved onto to rent another property - maybe there is already another installment in the making? I hope so.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I guarantee you'll love it!!!!, 20 Oct 2014
I'm not a lover of reading so when I say I loved reading this book it is true testament to how good the book is. Its light-hearted and easy to read. Two journalists and their dog embark on an adventure in the wild and beautiful southern Peloponnese, Greece, and it is a real adventure, the things that they get up to including some very comical moments keep you turning the pages. Read it and you'll love it too!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A delightful, quaint portrayal of rural life in Greece, 25 Jun 2014
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I absolutely loved this book! It’s a delightful, humorous account of life in rural Greece, as it’s perceived through the eyes of two Scots who decide to spend a year in a Peloponesian village. I got to love all the quaint characters described in this book. My personal favourite was Foteini who’s been portrayed with such tremendous sensitivity that it was impossible not to love her like a family member by the end of the book.

What can I say about Wallace, the dog? The author recounts so many hilarious antics that it seems that a great part of the merit in this book is owed to this adorable pet alone. I laughed outloud to read about his infamous bathroom trick and also his obsession with eating chicken. I don’t think I’ll ever see a backpack again without thinking of chicken sandwiches!

Marjory McGinn has written a book that brims over with love for Greece and the Greek language. It is evident in so many ways, like the way she sides with the locals when the British expats attempt to trash them, the way she allows for the quirkiness of the Greeks, the respect with which she regards unfathomable local customs and acts, and last but not least, in the way she keeps quoting the equivalent Greek word, so often, quite needlessly. But she obviously does this not in an attempt to show off her rich Greek vocabulary. It is crystal clear that she does it only with love, extending to the reader an invitation to share in her affinity for the language itself. This particular point made me choke with appreciation. I found it so incredibly sweet. Also, I found all the examples of her mistakes in Greek terribly hilarious. It made me think how many Greek words can sound almost the same to the untrained, foreign ear. I cringed to think how embarrassing it must have been for her to be teased so much by the locals!

I’ve read numerous books by British authors who’ve recorded their experiences with fixing up the odd dilapidated house in various parts of Greece. All the accounts managed to irritate me, both with their arrogance and intolerance towards the Greek way of life, as well as with the many inaccuracies their stories included. Thankfully, this book was a breath of fresh air. It caused in me zero offence and zero annoyance. Being the competent, talented journalist that she is, Marjory McGinn sticks to the facts and gives objectively a delightful account of the locals and their antics without passing judgment or even implying that they are less civilized or knowledgable than herself.

But it wasn’t just life in the village that was a pleasure to read about. There were also numerous historical references that I found utterly interesting. Whichever part of Greece the author mentions traveling to with her husband and adorable pet, she offers a thorough account of the local history, myths or legends. Unlike all the other books of the sort that I’ve read, again, this book stands out for this fact too, showing that the author had to research heavily for the book. Her trouble to do that betrays her love for my country and its history, which again I found myself appreciating immensely.

All in all, this is the best book of its kind that I’ve ever read. It had it all: humour, wit, interesting facts, and a good measure of sentiment. Marjory McGinn is a truly talented author and I’m really looking forward to a sequel!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well written, 7 Feb 2014
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This review is from: Things Can Only Get Feta: Two Journalists and Their Crazy Dog Living Through the Greek Crisis (Paperback)
This is well written, funny and have thoroughly enjoyed it. Have nearly finished the book and will be sad. Have Marjory written any more books? if not are there books out there that are as well written.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A tale full of adventure, warmth, and wit, 18 Dec 2013
This review is from: Things Can Only Get Feta: Two Journalists and Their Crazy Dog Living Through the Greek Crisis (Paperback)
Two journalists and their dog spending a year in the rural and wild southern Peloponnese at the beginning of the Greek economic crisis: A tale full of adventure, warmth, and wit, delving into the heart of the communities in this area.

Helped along by some knowledge of the language, Marjory McGinn together with her partner, makes her home in the village of Megali Mantineia, in Mani "...because it promised soaring temperatures and deserted coves... most of all it was described as untamed and remote, all the better to find colourful characters, raw edges, and even the odd calamity'. It turns out that - against the dark backdrop of Greece's ever-deepening economic crisis - Mani's people, their life and customs, and the expat community, offer them all of the above and more.

Things are not going entirely according to plan, so Marjorie and her partner, Jim, have to deal with a number of surprising matters: scorpions, dustbins, veterinary lab tests, a fishhook, dentists or the lack of them... And they do so with humor and moods that match the fiercely independent and proud community of local Greeks who, in turn, have to deal not only with the demands of a harsh landscape, unforgiving history, and hundreds of years of rebellion against invading foes, but also with increasing austerity measures and a deteriorating economy.

There are plenty of sympathetic and unforgettable descriptions of local characters, interesting background on the area, hilarious escapades as well as moving moments, and insightful observations of the local expats who turn out to be as colourful as the locals. Cultural tensions between Greeks and expats add to the frisson and make this book an interesting read and as independent-minded as those it describes. At a deeper level, the incidents illustrate the author's quest for rootedness: a sort of Odyssey, with the author stopping to learn from and experience different places and characters.

A treat to curl up with by the fire on a cold winter evening, or by the Aegean, on a warm summer's day. Even more, enticing to visit the places it describes. I haven't been to the area, but having read this book I most definitely will visit.

After Marjorie McGinn left Greece to return to Scotland - she meant to be there for a year, but stayed three in the end - the Greek economy continued on its downward slide; I wonder how the people in the villages she describes are faring. At the same time, I know that many from the cities - over three million alone live in Athens - facing unemployment and homelessness, are now moving back to rural Greece, from where their parents came from and where families may still own land. I wonder how this influx - of educated, artistic, cosmopolitan as well as depressed Greeks is going to affect the villages featured in this book. In this case, this book, might become a future reference source about life in `unspoilt' Greece.

A sequel is implied. I hope it materializes; the author owes it to her readers to share with them her account of the other two years of her Greek adventure. I certainly look forward to it!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Great holiday read, 20 Oct 2014
By 
D. M. Henton "Debs book" (Shropshire, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Things Can Only Get Feta: Two Journalists and Their Crazy Dog Living Through the Greek Crisis (Paperback)
I bought this book to take to Kardamili, in the Peloponnese as holidays reading and reading this on the beach just a few miles from where it was written, in the shade of the same mountains and olive trees last week was great!
I even convinced myself one day I had spotted Wallace in a layby near Stoups. It couldn't have been....could it???
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