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Let Me Explain You

3.18  ·  Rating details ·  753 ratings  ·  151 reviews
Let Me Explain You begins with a letter: Stavros Stavros Mavrakis- Greek immigrant, proud owner of the Gala Diner, having had a premonition of death and believing he has just ten days left to live, sends an email to his estranged ex-wife and three grown daughters in which he lays out his last wishes for each of them. He then sets about preparing for his final hours. With v ...more
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published July 14th 2015 by Scribner
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Amy Keyishian there is a character who is sexually abused in the book, but not by the main character.

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Average rating 3.18  · 
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 ·  753 ratings  ·  151 reviews

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Angela M
Feb 19, 2015 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars
This is about a Greek family, a bit dysfunctional, a bit off the wall , a bit of a mess really , but it could be any family and they don't have to be Greek. I love the title and that it could mean let me explain it to you or let me explain you. I can almost hear my Italian grandfather in his broken English saying the same thing and more than likely meaning the first .

I didn't love this book at first and there were times when I didn't like these characters very much . Stavros Stavros M
Feb 19, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley
I feel like I just read two books -- one that I found disappointing and one that I quite liked. I really wanted to like Let Me Explain You. It has all the ingredients of the type of book I usually like. Stavros Stavros -- an irascible egotist -- immigrated from Greece to the U.S. with his first wife Dina who was only 16 when they married. They had two young daughters, Stavrousa and Litza, and then Dina who has serious problems left. Stavros got remarried to Carol, and they had Ruby. Stavros mana ...more
Elyse  Walters
Feb 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
I was laughing hysterically from the start. REALLY -laugh-out-loud-FUNNY!

This is a contemporary story about a Greek immigrant family living in New Jersey.

The 'blurp' gives a clear outline --so I'm going to speak more about my thoughts and feelings. I really loved it!!
I come from a Jewish family, and can relate to the craziness of traditions in cultures. I can relate to simply CRAZY within families!
Annie Liontas does GREEK ---the way Jonathan Tropper does JEWISH! Master comic/tragic writing!
Feb 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This fine first novel by Annie Liontas begins with an email sent by its central character, Stavros Stavros “Steve” Mavrakis, to his three daughters and second ex-wife. In it he announces that he will be dying in ten days; this is proven because he has had a dream of death and the next day a goat (the goat of death) arrives at the diner he owns. This email establishes Stravros’s voice and his anguished views of all the women in his life. And it is also very funny. The voice is of a man who is tot ...more
Megan Baxter
Apr 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
For a first novel, this is a darned good one. And yet, we almost got off on the wrong foot. The first chapter, the email that the father sends to his three daughters and ex-wife, it almost put me off. It seemed a little too much like the introduction to Jonathan Safran Foer's Everything Is Illuminated, in which it's one long joke about how the narrator doesn't speak English very well. But where Foer's was something like 40 damned pages long and caused me to abandon the book, this was only a coup ...more
Feb 19, 2015 rated it liked it
I laughed really hard at some things in the beginning... Things Stavros said ..especially the multiple "let me explain you" could apply to my German immigrant Grandpa...he messed up a lot in speaking English... Lol
most of the rest of the story just didn't interest me... I kept putting the book down...took me a long time to read it.
Jun 01, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: edelweiss
Original review can be found at

**I received an advanced readers copy from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!**

Every now and then a book comes along that makes you go "ok". This was one of those books for me. It made me think, it made me question and it made me ponder. These are all things that I do when I really like a book.

I'm not going to re-tell the story but instead I will try to describe some of the things I felt
Oct 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: adult-fiction
“Let Me Explain You” is funny, but it’s so much more. The author, Annie Liontas, uses humor to explore the awkwardness of immigration; the distress of family relationships; the dysfunction of family and friends; and the thorny ways of showing love.

As the book jacket cover states, Stavros Stavros Mavrakis, owner of a Greek diner and a Greek immigrant believes he has ten days to live. The novel begins with a hilarious email sent to the women in his life, detailing what he thinks of them, what they
Hugo Santos
Sep 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As an immigrant, I understood parts of the characters in a deeply personal way. I could understand Stavros's drive, his relentlessness, and his inability to (often?) process the feelings and limitations of those around him. It was like that in the house where I grew up, with a patriarch of my own. His word was last. His vision the truest, most apt.

Oh, Annie, how did you get so much of it so right?

I read this book, and then I re-read scenes and chapters.

I love this book and I want you to love
Sep 02, 2015 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: zero
Recommended to Carrie by: Cathy B.
Greek people in New Jersey. Didn't really like a single character and didn't care who died or lived. It was so singularly about being Greek that I know barely anything about these characters, other than they are Greek and have Greek sayings, ways, attitudes and ideas.

I absolutely hate reading about fictional character's dreams and I got tired of reading descriptions of people's trembling cigarettes. I wish there would have been more included about how culturally these immigrants understood Amer
Kim Lanza
Jun 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I started reading this book on the beach and immediately knew it deserved more of my attention than I could give with my toes stuck in the sand. Once home, I couldn't wait to shut out the world and enter into the world of Stavros Stavros. Stavros did not disappoint me. I feel like I know the characters.

What I loved the most was the use of language - - original, interesting, poetic yet succinct. I have so many favorite lines. Usually I extract a few favorites but the asterisks in the margin are
Feb 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A deeply moving and wise narrative that tells the story of an immigrant family across generations while touching on universal human experiences of loss, grief, adaptation, and reckoning. Liontas deftly blends prose and poetry to make for a lyrical and stunning read. The most resonant question for me was: to what can we reliably tether ourselves? Our homeland? Our families? Our friends? Our successes? Where do we turn for solace? Each of the characters struggles with these questions while making ...more
This literally hits the "ok" mark. I didn't hate it, didn't enjoy it. I was expecting funny, crotchety old man and got egomaniac old man with screwed up children. I'm not Greek, but in my opinion, I wouldn't say that this is a commentary of immigrant life like many have claimed.

I received an arc copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you NetGalley!
Jul 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015-reviews
“Let Me Explain You” is a difficult book to review. On one hand, the writing is beautiful and tragicomic. On the other, it can be outrageously offensive. I’ve given it four stars, but please be sure to thoroughly read my review and any others you may find to see if it’s a good fit for you.

At its heart, “Let Me Explain You” is a story about the American Dream, reality, and the hot mess that makes up most families, whether we want to admit it or not. It begins with Stavros Stavros Mavrakis (actual
Lolly K Dandeneau
Feb 12, 2015 rated it liked it
From the moment our Stavros is expressing his true feelings about Starbucks, the reader knows he is a fiery handful. Let Me Explain You, he says to each of his daughters because he knows he is dying- the goat he has seen speaks of his impending death. His words are not nice ones, particularly to his ex-wife. "He heard himself talking and the words sounded ugly, like bits of fat, which was how he had intended them to come out."
His dreams have deeper meaning, and he wants to fix his daughters befo
Check out this and other reviews at my blog

Stavros Stavros Mavrakis is the patriarch of a dysfunctional and highly opinionated Greek immigrant family, living in New Jersey. He is the proud owner of Gala Diner, father to three daughters and the ex-husband to a handful of ex-wives. After having a premonition of his death in exactly ten days, he writes an emotionally heated email to his family outlining his thoughts and final wishes. While for Stavros these
Judith Sachs
Jul 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
If you have daughters, you should read this book. If you have suffered, you should read this book. If you love food, you should also read it. Like life, it is funny and sad at the same time, and offers both a realistic and stylized vision of the immigrant experience in America. What begins as a kind of Greek King Lear story veers back and forth between the pathos and hilarious moments that tear families apart and draw them closer. Annie Liontas writes novels as though she's been doing it for dec ...more
Jul 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book was great! I loved all the crazy going on with this family. Many different characters that had depth. It had a little mystery, lots of sarcasm, crass & warm humor, and family love,nonsense, and loyalty. I love the way the author made you hate a character but then in a future chapter made you understand more about them from their past and then again where they were heading in the future. This would make a great movie. I could see the whole thing themed around "the goat." ...more
Aug 07, 2015 rated it it was ok
It was all Greek to me.
Jun 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
"Let Me Explain You" is a strange and oddly comedic story following an estranged Greek immigrant family through a very curious time in their lives regarding their father.

The book opens somewhat jarringly, with an email that Stavros Stavros "Steve" Mavrakis (one of our violently Greek main characters) has sent to his wife Carol and three adult daughters, Stavroula (the eldest), Litza (the middle child), and Ruby (the youngest). Within this email, Stavros voices his opinions on the choices they've
Aug 29, 2016 rated it did not like it
I don't know if I've ever hated a book as much as I did this one. I felt like the synopsis let me down: A Greek man dreams about a goat, thinking it's foreshadowing his death, and when the days count down to his memorial, his daughters think he's just pulling another crazy stunt—until he suddenly disappears. It sounds like the perfect comedy, right?

This book was not funny. Maybe you have to be Greek to get it? The first few chapters were rife with expletives (mostly from Stavros directed toward
Jun 26, 2015 rated it liked it
Dark and tragic, Stavros Stavros (not a typo!) Mavrakis, has lived most of his adult life in New Jersey, after emigrating from Crete. The book opens with a letter he has written his daughters and one of his ex-wives after a dream that he will die within 10 days. What follows is a daily countdown from day 10 to day 1, which takes the reader back in time to detail why this dysfunctional Greek family is in its current state. While there are a few hilarious moments, I found this book to be very sad ...more
Jun 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I absolutely love this book.

I'm not going to bother with a plot synopsis because describing the plot doesn't do the book justice and inevitably makes it sound like an altogether different book than the one it actually is.

This isn't really about plot, anyway. It's about story. And people. And language. It's funny as hell but it's also relevant and real and even tragic in some ways. It's about immigration and family and men and women, too.

I'm really not sure how it's possible that it's a debut
Kelly DuMar
Aug 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Beautifully structured, this novel grabbed me with the opening set up of a Greek father sending a manipulative e-mail to his three daughters and ex wife. The voice and pace of the novel are wonderful! Told with originality, poetry, myth, and deep psychological insight - and humor. It's an exceptional debut. and I'm in awe of her talent. ...more
Liz Dowiak
Aug 15, 2015 rated it it was ok
I finished the book, despite the fact that I really did not enjoy reading it, because I will be attending an authors panel with this author presenting. I found the obscene vocabulary offensive and the metaphors ridiculous. My family is also Greek and I have never heard the older generation speak with so much vile English profanity.
Jan 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
Simply wonderful. A lovely, lyrical voice, what a beautiful story. Wonderfully fleshed out characters, and an ending that in retrospect, I should have seen coming.

This is the story of a family of women, with a stubborn, funny, and underneath it all, very loving father with flaws. The entire family's flaws are laid bare for the reader. The language of this novel is a pleasure to read.
Feb 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
It starts off funny/dark humor and then as you get to know the daughters (only a little) it starts to get a little windy and off track. In the end, you understand more, but not everyone will push through. It's all about a father's love and the loss of translation between generations-so in the end you really see its brilliance. ...more
Jun 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
A hilarious and moving story about a Greek immigrant and his daughters. Annie captures the voice of Stavros Stavros and brings him and his family to life so masterfully. I could not put this book down. Annie's characters are driven by pure, stubborn will. An incredible, engaging read. ...more
Lorelei Jaramillo
Jun 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Loved this book! Love the perspective of an immigrant from Greece coming to America and making his way. Love his quirks. The book made me laugh and cry in equal measures.
Oh, I really, really wanted to like this book. Greek stories often get to my Slavic family experiences in at least a few ways (My Big Fat Greek Wedding is SO relatable), and I at least expected to relate to the immigrant aspect, the belonging without belonging, the sense of being between worlds. But instead of the relatable humor I was expecting, I got a disorganized mishmash full of weird metaphors and disconnected storylines, with almost no likable characters and a main character who was AGONI ...more
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Annie Liontas' debut novel, LET ME EXPLAIN YOU (Scribner) was selected by the ABA as an Indies Introduce 2015. She is the recent recipient of a grant from the Barbara Deming Memorial Fund, and her story “Two Planes in Love” was selected as runner-up in BOMB Magazine’s 2013 Fiction Prize Contest. Other stories and poems have appeared in Ninth Letter, Night Train, and Lit. Since 2003, Annie has been ...more

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