Adventures of an Anglo-Greek marriage
Alexandra, a product of Greek Fire. Born into the cradle of civilization. Weaned on the teachings of ancient Greek philosophers, thrilled by the bravery of Spartans and thousands of years of cultural heritage.
I, her future husband, a tea drinking, digestive dunking product of British society. Working to make a living, no real ambitions or dreams. But then, I fell in love and everything changed.
They gave Hercules twelve labours. This must be a Greek thing. Perhaps all potential husbands undergo a death-defying feat to prove them worthy. When we narrowly avoiding a plummet from the top of the mountain into the abyss, I hoped I had passed the first test.
Alexandra considered that If I was going to live here with a Greek family, I had to become Greek.
The book details her quest to transform me from a typical stiff upper lipped Brit into something resembling an Achilles type character with sharpened sword and wits to match. My transformation would sometimes be hilarious, always embarrassing, but would change my outlook on life and open my eyes to the world around me.
The central thread of the book is my introduction to Greek culture from a unique perspective.
The book reveals Alexandra’s fascinating relatives introduced regularly through the book. Her war hero grandfather, a sea captain who worked tirelessly for the resistance during the second worlds war ferrying captured allied soldiers to freedom. Arrested by the Nazis and sentenced to death before escaping with the aid of a German officer. He fled to Canada, where he continued to keep his family from starving during the great famine of Athens by smuggling gold sovereigns through his resistance allies.
The saga of demolishing our much-loved family home and replacing with a five-story apartment block. Fights and squabbles with the architect. He considered it his right to take as much of our property as possible and occasionally succeeding. Our determination to thwart his ambitions and protect as much of the family heritage as possible.
Alexandra teaching me to speak the Greek language by sending me to the petrol station with the Greek sentence written phonetically in English characters for me to recite. Me, actually asking the attendant to fill me up, rather than the car. Testing my language skills at the local bakery, asking for two penises, and politely asking the server to hold my dick.
This book falls into a highly successful genre of travel writing and escapism. There are flavours of The Durrells, but not so dated, a bite of A Year in Provence, but less flowery. My big fat Greek wedding scratched the surface on Greek culture but only offered a superficial snapshot while becoming become the second highest-earning romantic comedy in history (behind “Pretty Woman”).
Most of the recent successful books of this type are from a perspective of foreigners living in the country and mixing with the locals, but from viewed as an outsider. This book is a unique perspective of experience told from within a Greek family looking out as a family member. This gives the reader so much more.