Beginner's Greek

Title: Beginner's Greek
Author: James Collins
Pages: 464
Pub Date: 2009
Genre: Literary Fiction
Challenges: Chunkster
Do you believe in Fate? Can true love overcome all obstacles? Beginner's Greek is marketed as a smart literary romance with author James Collins getting compared to the incomparable Jane Austen.
You can imagine why I picked it up then, right? I don't boast my romantic notions, because they are hardly wide-eyed Disney goo. Rather, I want the romance with the raw filth of real life. Unfortunately Beginner's Greek did not live up to any of my expectations.
I found the writing style to be off-setting and pretentious. Rather than allowing me to feel any type of warmth to these characters you continue to miss the opportunity of love, I felt alienated. Peter Russell, the romantic stockbroker hero, boards a plane and meets Holly, the smart chick woman who happens to be reading Thomas Mann's The Magic Mountain. The book is the bridge to an emotional connection between the two, which leaves them both looking forward to a meet up after the plane lands. Unfortunately, as twist of fate would have it, Peter loses Holly's number and is forced to accept his soul mate has been lost to the universe. That is, until years later, when he realizes that the new girl his best friend is dating is the lost Holly. But rather than manning up and telling this beauty that he has not been able to stop thinking about her or their ONE encounter, he lets his wormy best friend marry her and accepts his fate as hubby's BFF.
And really, folks, when I say that his best friend is wormy, he's like, over the top wormy. As it was, wormy Jonathan was the best thing that happened to this novel. His character struck emotion. I hated, detested, despised him. I wanted to strangle him and make him cry.
So of course, it was even more frustrating to watch weakling Peter sit by while Jonathan was boinking everyone imaginable. I mean, seriously folks, if you loved this woman, wouldn't you tell her that her husband your best friend was a dud and run off into the sunset? Not our hero. Nope. Instead, he also gets married.
There are 400 pages of these hit and misses. By the time the novel ended, I was so over the Holly & Peter pollen that I could care less if they finally confessed their undying love.
I am still unsure how Collins could be compared to Austen. I'm not going to debate that, however, because I've only read one Austen book.
If you have read Beginner's Greek and have something to contribute (do you agree with me or better yet can you enlighten me on what I am missing) please drop a line. And, if this is the first time you've heard of it, I'd let it become a distant memory. Find another 400+ page book to entertain your time.


  1. I'll probably skip this one, but I tried to read The Magic Mountain a few years ago -- I think I was inspired by Murakami's Norwegian Wood -- and that was a strange experience. I think I ended up stopping about 10 pages from the end, and I've been meaning to go back and read those final pages ever since.

  2. Hmm...doesn't sound like a book for me either :P


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