Growing up in a big, not-so-fat, semi-Greek household, Ekaterina Botziou spent much of her childhood defying her father’s wishes for her to learn to play the bouzouki, and refusing third helpings of moussaka. Determined never to be the stereotypical Greek woman stuck in the kitchen, she chose to while away long summer days in Greece playing “What’s the time Mr Wolf?” with her 101 Greek cousins, rather than be stuck inside learning to cook with Yiayia. Unfortunately Zeus had other ideas, and in a twist of fate some years later, Ekaterina found herself married to a Greek-Cypriot and battling against the stale old laws of Greek tradition.
Part memoir, part rant, part survival guide, this book is a God-send for all those tormented by guilt-inducing mother-in-laws, pandofla-wielding grandfathers, and oppressively hairy husbands.
Those of you who know the real me know two things about me:
1. I am not of Greek heritage
2. I am not a woman and therefore not married to a Greek man.
In fact, the nearest I can consider to being Greek is either via the dodgy school dinner moussaka I used to eat in the 1980s or the meal I had at a Greek restaurant when I visited Gouda last September.
However, after the author of this book, Ekaterina Botziou, liked one of my guest posts for the “Hot Cute Girly Geek” website, I decided to check her website out in return and found that she had written this book.
In essence, this is a humourous book which aims to guide people, most notably women, around the various aspects of Greek family culture – including religion, education, getting on with family and the in-laws, and the perils of the Greek man’s “Hulk Gene” otherwise known as the “Red Ape”. (To balance this though, I have to say that it isn’t only Greek men who have this particular affliction – especially when it comes to the television remote control).
I started the book early last week and whilst it took me nearly a week to read, this was because of “real life” and does not reflect the book’s quality. The author goes for an informal, conversational tone throughout which suits the subject matter making the book cheeky rather than preachy.
Do not fear if you have had no previous experience of the Greek lifestyle as Ekaterina provides explanations to Greek terms, both throughout the text and via a couple of Glossaries at the end of the book.
With a combination of memoir, poetry, “advice” (but I’d say that’s too formal a phrase) and humour, I found this book an enjoyable and light read, which helped after a hard day at work, and as somebody who isn’t really in the target market for this book, in more ways than one, I’d happily recommend it for anyone who is either interested in learning about the Greek lifestyle or just wants to have a humourous insight into families in general.