on 7 August 2016
Hilarious, witty and so fascinating, i used to live next door to a Greek family, they were the loveliest people i have ever known, there were a lot of them and their house was never empty
They were so nice to us kids and reading this has taken me right back to those times
A great read and totally sarcastic.. but so worth it.
on 18 December 2013
I was lucky enough to win a signed copy of this book in a goodreads.com first reads giveaway. What a treat it was to read. The author's bubbly personality shows through the writing. There was even humour in the inside cover page eg. where it normally says 'This book is fictional, any resemblance etc.....' -in this one it says 'This book is FACT. Names, characters and events are all true. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events or locale is NOT a coincidence' -well this had me laughing before I had even started the book! Chapter headings are ingenious, this really adds to the whole package for me; This Is A Greek Man's World, If I Were A Greek Man, Forever and Ever, hints at songs, theming the book, it all adds up to a very polished and well presented book. This isn't a novel or a memoir but it is light-hearted look at life in a Greek family living in England and their various traditions and quirks. Funny and informative, it is quite wonderful. It's quite a short book, 200 pages, but Ekaterina manages to say so much in so few words and there's so many funny anecdotes. My absolute favourite chapter was the one where she described their annual holidays in Greece. A fabulous chapter, the book is great for this chapter alone. Here are experiences, jokey observations, poems, stories and recipes. Even the titles for the chapters are well thought out and this all adds up to a great presentation. Highly accurate too. Congratulations on an excellent book.
on 14 July 2014
This book has left me with mixed impressions. For one, it’s very entertaining, in the sense that it’s humorous and witty. Plus, the author is very astute and thorough in recounting the characteristics of the stereotypical Greek male and his family. Yet, at the same time, she does this in such fashion that it becomes a fervent rant, rather than a typically humorous account, to the point that in places it borders on the offensive. The other problem with the said rant is that in my opinion, it refers to a rather extinct male species. Allow me to explain:
It is no surprise that the book quotes heavily from the delightful movie, “My Big Fat Greek Wedding”. The male Greek, as is portrayed in the book, seems to describe characters from the aforementioned movie. But these characters are caricatures, mere ghosts of a lost era, simply because they belong to Greek society back in the 50s, 60s, 70s max. The difference here is that the characters from the movie seem genuine because they are exactly what they claim to be: Greek emigrants living abroad, whereas the author is generalizing, as to include the Greek males and their families living in Greece today, which is of course a fallacy.
In my experience, the majority of Greek emigrants and their offspring who live abroad today, still see Greece through the rose-tinted glasses of the good old Greek movies of forty-sixty years ago where stereotypes were at their best. Every resident Greek who has family abroad will know what I’m talking about because their emigrant family members seem to be stuck in a time capsule. Whenever they visit Greece, they clash badly with modern Greek society here. They appear so quaint and naïve at times, that the resident Greeks often become frustrated or even offended, as they try to explain that things have changed since they left Greece. For example, their emigrant uncles, aunts and cousins may seem stunned to come across a big mall here or to find out that the local supermarket stocks curry powder or mosquito repellent.
And no matter how many times they come back for a holiday, they still don’t seem to get it. They’re somehow foreign to today’s Greece, just like the shepherd’s ‘tagari’ in the old movie ‘Koritsia Ston Ilio’ and the nostalgic bouzouki chords in ‘Never on Sunday’. Not that there’s anything wrong with all that, it’s just that they have nothing to do with Greek society today.
Having been raised in Athens, I know well that Greek men are nothing like the caricatures of a bygone era portrayed in this book. Not only are they able to choose their own pairs of socks without mamma’s help, but they’re happy to let their wives work while they stay home cooking, hoovering and changing diapers.
As I said, the book’s merit is in its wit and humour, as well as in the astuteness with which all the characteristics of the extinct Greek male are listed. The only problem with this book is a misquotation. It falsely refers to the male Greek in general, when what it does is describe the male Greek emigrant living abroad. As I said, they often appear to be rather stuck in Greece’s distant past, and therefore I have no trouble believing the author’s claim that all the anecdotes involving her in laws in the UK are absolutely true.
Having explained how estranged I felt towards the aforementioned elements in the book, I cannot stress enough how much I enjoyed the memoir parts in it. The author has an amazing talent for relaying old memories that brim with nostalgia, sweetness and the joy of being young and carefree. I think it’s a gift that should be pursued further, as it would be a shame not to put it to good use.
My overall impression of this book is that the author delivers the humour intelligently and wittily. This is why, regardless of my aforementioned grievances, I’m giving this book four stars for the hilarity, as well as for the author’s great use of language and obvious writing talent. Indeed, if there was less rant and more memoir, it would be a gem of a book! I really hope to read such a book from this author in future.
on 3 August 2014
Ekaterina Botziou's colourful depiction of her family, her childhood memories, going on holiday to Greece, and her marriage to a Greek-Cypriot man afford an enjoyable and entertaining read.
I found the stories relating to her father particularly amusing, especially the time he '...decided to drill some air holes into one of those big plastic shoe boxes...he managed to drill a hole right through a pair of my sister's favourite...knee-high boots'. I was able to contrast my experiences in having a father who is a perfectionist with excellent DIY skills. I was also touched by one of her comments where she states: 'I honestly believe that having daughters first before a son softened my father a great deal'. I believe my Greek-Cypriot father was greatly influenced in his views by having three daughters as he instilled career aspirations and the importance of academic qualifications in his daughters. Therefore, I was able to compare and contrast my experiences with those of the writer.
Ekaterina Botziou's 'Greek Expectations: The Last Moussaka Standing' is written with skill, humour and wit; she is clearly a talented writer and I look forward to reading her next book.
on 5 December 2014
'Greek Expectations: The Last Moussaka Standing' is a wonderful book. My first introduction to Greek life was through a friend of my daughter. I enjoyed their hospitality and the home cooked Greek meals. One of my favourite books which I re-read often is Gerald Durrell's `My Family and Other Animals' which is the story of his five-year sojourn with his family on the Greek island of Corfu. Ekaterina Botziou's blog is one I enjoy reading for its wit and wisdom and the insight she has into Greek life. So I had to read her very funny book: `Greek Expectations: The Last Moussaka Standing'. This book can sit happily alongside Durrell's great work of comic writing, it is as funny, charming and bewitching. The reader is transported to the author's world and her Greek heritage. It gave me a feeling of sunshine, happiness and family.
Greek Expectations: The Last Moussaka Standing' is a five star book.
on 6 June 2015
Alough written tongue in cheek with excellent humour, I know from living in Crete, and hearing firsthand about the experiences of some women who married Greek men, that this book is frighteningly true! Some passages made me laugh out loud, embarrassing as I was reading it on a public beach! Once I'd got, and appriciated the joke, I found myself wanting to know more about the author's childhood memories from trips to Greece. Loved the inclusion of recipes. My conclusion is that people who know and love Greece will enjoy this freshand witty read.
on 3 June 2014
What an amazing book, Greek Expectations: The Last Moussaka Standing is not only a great read full of wisdom and advice but also a life saver. I received a signed copy of the book this January while I was fighting cancer. I was so fascinated by this book's rich contents and Greek culture, I was recalling my memories from Greek trips too. I could not stop laughing and smiling all the time - what an exciting, funny, interesting book. I could feel a lot of the author's sense of humor, her intelligence too. There is no book or blog which made me smile and laugh as much as this author's did. Thanks to reading her work during my cancer battle, I could truly enjoy my life and keep positive and also I could forget that I was even a cancer patient each time I accessed her book and blog. I visited Greece this Feb again, I followed all of author's advise what is written on her book and blog and it worked !!! My relationship with Greeks worked out perfectly :-) I owe a lot to this book and author. It is like bible now !
on 11 February 2015
"Greek Expectations: The Last Moussaka Standing" is a very enjoyable read. It's well written, incredibly funny and will keep you laughing throughout. Ekaterina Botziou gives a great insight into Greek life with numerous hilarious anecdotes and tips of "how to survive" many events from births to marriage to name days. To read this book you do not have to be Greek or involved with a Greek man. I am neither and thoroughly enjoyed the colourful and witty description of the author's life and family, the stories, poems and recipes and learning about Greek traditions, customs (and some language!) on the way.
on 10 March 2014
This book makes you want to crack open the Oozo and remember those sunny days spent on a Greek beach in your teenage years and ponder what life might have been had you taken up that gorgeous local bar man's offer! What a hoot this book is, exploring the life of one half-Greek lady who after a lifetime living with a Greek father goes on to marry her very own Greek man, although one she must surely be able to mold into her own fashion, given her feisty, gutsy personality that shines through each page. Ekaterina has a great sense of humor and a great talent for exploring deep into the pysche of the Southern Mediterranean male and what life was like when she visited as a child, both bemused and alarmed at the difference in culture and her dad once he touched Greek soil. With its recipes and phrase list, all that is missing is a list of the best beaches not mentioned in the guidebooks. A definite read for anyone with the tiniest connection to Greece or who pines after those days when gorgeous dark haired, beefy young Greek men smiled at you. And certainly obligatory reading for all Greek men!
on 29 July 2014
Mildly disappointing. The author writes with verve and humour but it is quite repetitious in its themes through the chapters. It is much more written for her contemporaries with similar experiences. Growing up in England many communities have or had these suffocating family experiences but they were not shared with the mixed social life at school and work. However, the specific details of Greek habits is interesting and amusingly recounted. While all Greek men in the modern world are probably not like this but it may serve as a counter-balance to an overly romantic concept of living with a Greek man and his family. The author should continue to write but work with an editor.
To summarise, read it, it is amusing but a little repetitive,