Beginner's Greek

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Is love at first sight possible or just an old-fashioned romantic idea? And what if, to further complicate things, you meet the love of your life and then lose her phone number? Then what if, after the impossible happens and you find her again, she's now about to marry a roguish lothario who is also your best friend? The complications don't end there for Peter Russell, the winning hero of James Collins' charming, generous, and romantic first novel. Part modern-day Jane Austen, part Tom Wolfe, Beginner's Greek is ...

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Beginner's Greek: A Novel

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Overview

Is love at first sight possible or just an old-fashioned romantic idea? And what if, to further complicate things, you meet the love of your life and then lose her phone number? Then what if, after the impossible happens and you find her again, she's now about to marry a roguish lothario who is also your best friend? The complications don't end there for Peter Russell, the winning hero of James Collins' charming, generous, and romantic first novel. Part modern-day Jane Austen, part Tom Wolfe, Beginner's Greek is a romantic comedy of the highest order, with characters who are perfectly, charmingly real as they swerve and stumble from fairy tale to social satire and back again.

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Editorial Reviews

James Kaplan
…the fact is that whether it is confection or literary comfort food, Beginner's Greek is, from start to finish, delicious. Put aside the two essential improbabilities of the plot…and put yourself in Collins's good (and relentlessly good-doing) hands. All will be well…This is a writer…who knows how to write. One of the great pleasures of this novel—and what sets it quite apart from chick lit—is the sheer felicity of its prose. I am certain Collins could write virtually from birth, but as a middle-aged first novelist, he brings burnished style, wisdom and compassion to the enterprise.
—The New York Times
Publishers Weekly

The two young professionals of Collins's polished debut, Holly and Peter, meet on a flight bound from New York to L.A. They tacitly understand they are soul mates, and she invites him to dinner, but Peter soon discovers that he has lost the number Holly wrote on a page torn from Mann's The Magic Mountain. With Peter's financial career and New York society as a mundane backdrop, years pass and Holly ends up married to Jonathan, a successful author and womanizer-and, conveniently, Peter's best friend. Still aching for his one-time seatmate, Peter marries Charlotte, a dull Francophile, because it "made sense." Charlotte, of course, is also in love with someone else-a former flame, Maximilien-Francois-Marie-Isidore. At Peter and Charlotte's wedding, Jonathan is struck by lightning, precipitating an endless series of events that changes the lives of family, friends and lovers alike-including Peter's boss and Charlotte's ex-stepmother. Former Timeeditor Collins, 48, writes as if fully aware that anyone who saw any one of a thousand other romantic comedies will find the plot familiar: he plays romantic comedy clichés with an expert coolness. Anyone for whom chick lit is a guilty pleasure will find the tone here multiple notches above the usual fare. (Jan.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Library Journal

Peter Russell, an up-and-coming financial trader, is a romantic at heart. As he boards a transcontinental flight to Los Angeles, he is eager to see who will sit next to him, fully expecting-if it's a female-to find his true love. When the captivating Holly takes the seat, Peter is convinced he was right. Imagine his dismay after parting when he loses her phone number and realizes that he doesn't know her last name. So begins this tale of star-crossed lovers and their circle of family and friends. Peter and Holly will each travel a perilous path over the years to come. Treacherous office politics, adulterous liaisons, and a host of fascinating characters round out the story. Despite the contemporary setting, Collins's fiction debut has all the traits of a 19th-century romance-an omniscient and sometimes playful narrator, elegant prose that meanders through the lush terrain of disparate lives, an occasionally arch but always dulcet tone, frequent flashbacks, characters whose minds are plumbed (the females are especially well sounded), sophisticated dialog, and a much-delayed but delightful resolution. Jane Austen fans will feel right at home. Recommended for public libraries.
—Ron Terpening

Kirkus Reviews
Part fable, part farce, a preposterously plotted yet ultimately charming debut novel. Consider this a romantic man's version of chick lit, in which love conquers all, everyone lives happily-ever-after and a guy and girl who are just a little too good to be true see fate triumph over circumstantial twists and bad luck. A short prologue sets a plot in motion that the rest of this overlong novel will eventually resolve. It's a fairy-tale setup: Shy, young Peter Russell, pure of heart, boards a plane for a cross-country business trip with the same fantasy that he always has-that the woman with whom he is fated to fall in love will have the seat next to him. "Not just a young woman, the young woman: a really pretty, really kind young woman, and they would get to talking . . . and by the time they landed it would all be settled and clear. More happy, happy love!" Amazingly enough, that very woman sits next to Peter, starts talking to him (he's petrified) and becomes captivated by him. They bond over her copy of The Magic Mountain, which he seems to remember in great detail (though it's the only long German novel he's ever read), and she writes her name and phone number on a page from it. But when he looks for the page, he discovers he's lost it! All he can remember is that her name is Holly. Flash forward a few years and Peter is on the verge of a marriage of convenience, and Holly is inexplicably married to Peter's best friend, a young writer of some renown who is a first-class cad. Why is the saintly Peter best friends with such a rogue? And why has Holly married a man who doesn't deserve her? No matter. As the plot becomes even more entangled, Holly and Peter must ultimately be together, andit's the novelist's job to keep the reader guessing how this can possibly be accomplished. If you loved The Graduate, you'll like this.
Time
"A sparkling first novel."
Boston Globe
"Clever, romantic, and fun."
Vanity Fair
"A satire of modern love that will charm both sexes equally."
The New Yorker
"An unabashedly romantic début."
New York Times Book Review
"Beginner's Greek is, from start to finish, delicious."
author of Heyday Kurt Andersen
"A rare delight: a smart, elegant, madly romantic comedy with characters who seem perfectly, charmingly real."
Adriana Trigiani
"A romantic, funny, and insightful page-turner."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780316021555
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
  • Publication date: 1/9/2008
  • Pages: 448
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

James Collins writes for The New Yorker and has been an editor at both Time and Spy Magazine. A former Little, Brown editorial assistant, he is 48 years old and lives in Virginia with his family. This is his first novel.
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Read an Excerpt

Beginner's Greek

A Novel
By James Collins

Little, Brown and Company

Copyright © 2008 James Collins
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-316-02155-5


Chapter One

For its entire history, the firm of Beeche and Company, which could trace its origins to New Amsterdam, had engaged solely in one commercial activity: trading. At no time had it cultivated or mined or manufactured any good; it acted, rather, as merchant, factor, broker, financier. At its beginnings, it imported the axes that it traded for wampum, which it traded for beaver skins, which it sold for export. Later on, it bought corn and wheat from the farms of the north and sent its ships laden with them to the Caribbean, where they exchanged their cargo for sugar, rum, molasses, and indigo, which, on the ships' return, Beeche re-exported to the east and west; sometimes, the eastbound ships, after first calling in Britain or France, traveled down to the African coast and then sailed back across the Atlantic with cargo that was human. Beeche was among the first in New York to trade commercial and government paper, and as the years passed it added the securities of banks, then of railroads, then of manufacturers, to its repertoire. By the turn of the last century the firm had grown into a large financial enterprise with thousands of employees, branches throughout the world, and a dozen divisions. Yet its basic business remained the same: trading for its own benefit and brokering the trades of others. No Beeche had touched a plow or a hammer for centuries, nor had he employed anyone who did.

Unlike its competitors, Beeche was still owned by its founding family; no partners had been invited in, nor had shares been sold to the public. Moreover, the Beeches had passed the company down roughly according to the right of primogeniture (although there had been times when women had run it - Dorothea Beeche famously made a killing in the Panic of 1819), so the ownership had remained concentrated. Since it was a private firm, no outsider could easily judge what Beeche and Company was worth, but it typically ranked at the top as an underwriter, and it was legendary for its ability to make huge bets and refuse to fold when the markets (temporarily) turned against it, so its capital must have been very substantial.

Apart from the firm, there were, of course, other sources of Beeche wealth, and their value was even harder to determine. The Beeches, for example, had acquired land continuously, and it was said that they had never sold an acre, but the extent of their holdings was unknown, as they had long since stopped using their own name in making a purchase. Then there were the collections of antiquities, paintings, sculpture, furniture, manuscripts, tapestries, books. Always patrons of American cabinetmakers and silversmiths, the Beeches also took shopping sprees in Europe that had preceded those of other Americans by a couple of generations. One of the Beeches had made a practice of providing liquidity to embarrassed maharajahs by buying their jewels; in the 1940s and 1950s, another had accepted paintings in lieu of rent from impoverished artists living in Beeche properties in lower Manhattan. Nor was it possible to say how much money the Beeches had given away. From the earliest Spastic Hospital through settlement houses on the Lower East Side to the newest program to eliminate malaria, they had exerted themselves philanthropically, usually with the right hand kept ignorant of what the left was doing.

Yet while precision might be elusive, it could be said with confidence, in a general way, that the Beeche fortune was vast.

The incumbent Beeche was named Arthur (as most of his predecessors had been). His legacy, with all its attendant powers and duties, had come to him at the age of forty. He was now fifty-three. One wet morning in June, Arthur Beeche was being driven from his house on Fifth Avenue to Beeche and Company's headquarters on Gold Street. He had left at his usual time, four-fifteen, and at that hour the trip took ten minutes. Rory, the chauffeur, had minded Arthur since he was a little boy and, on account of his employer's generosity and good advice, and his own shrewdness, he had acquired his own fortune. Right now he was making a big bet on volatility, as he told Arthur on the way downtown. They arrived at the Beeche Building, an enormous new edifice. The rain had made black patches and streaks on its slate cladding. Rory opened the car door for Arthur and scampered to open the door of the building. Although he was a large man, Arthur moved in a kind of shimmer, as if an invisible force were conveying him a finger's width above the ground. "Good morning, Mr. Beeche," said a security guard. Arthur smiled and said, "Good morning, Ignazio." He shimmered over to his private elevator, and Ignazio pushed the button for him; the doors opened instantly. "How's your little boy doing?" Arthur asked. "The first-grader."

"Oh! Good, Mr. Beeche," said Ignazio. "Very good."

"Did he get glasses?"

"Yes, sir. It's a big help."

"That's swell," said Arthur. "But the other children don't tease him?"

"Oh no. Maybe a little, but not so bad."

"I'm glad to hear such a positive report," Arthur said, entering the elevator. "See you tomorrow, Ignazio. Take care of yourself."

"Yes, sir. You too, sir," said Ignazio. "Don't fight the tape!"

Arthur laughed. This was a little joke of theirs. "I'll try not to!" he replied.

When Arthur got off on the seventy-seventh floor, a beautifully groomed woman, Miss Harrison, was there to meet him. She carried a folder full of correspondence. As they walked toward his office, he and Miss Harrison talked quietly about how Asia had closed. They passed by some empty desks, through a well-furnished anteroom, and then into Arthur's office proper. It was large and decorated in the expensive but reserved style of a masculine upstairs sitting room in one of Arthur's houses. There were three large paintings and several smaller ones. Arthur changed these regularly, enjoying the chance to study his pictures during his long hours at work.

He sat at his desk, which was bare of any papers. Miss Harrison placed the folder in front of him. She brought his attention to several matters. "Thank you, Miss Harrison," he said, and she withdrew.

Arthur Beeche was six feet three inches tall and was powerfully built. He had a large head with a flat brow; his black hair had always been rather thin and, combed straight back, enough of it now remained only to cover his skull. The most striking thing about Arthur's appearance may have been his mouth, which was incongruously sensitive-looking for the thick superstructure of his jaw and cheekbones. Today he wore a gray suit with a thin, faint red check, cut in the English style.

Arthur was thinking about something that he had not been able to get out of his mind since he first put the suit on that morning: his tailor had died. This event saddened and preoccupied Arthur. He was, naturally, concerned about finding someone who would make his clothes as skillfully. But he wasn't thinking about that. The news was taking an emotional toll on Arthur, for his tailor had been a particular friend.

Sam Harrison (someone at Ellis Island had given his father, a Russian Jew, the same name as Arthur's aide, who was a Harrison of Virginia) had become a Communist in the 1930s and had remained one. The greatest tragedy of the twentieth century, to his mind, had been the Normandy invasion. By the time the Allies had finally opened the second front, Sam always insisted, even Stalin had come to think that the Soviets could defeat Hitler alone, which would have secured all of Western Europe for the dictatorship of the proletariat. The very rich men of affairs among Sam's clients took pleasure in it when he ranted against capitalism: the irony and humor of being abused by your incredibly expensive Communist tailor was delectable. Meanwhile, the idle men of fashion who patronized Sam all more or less agreed with him.

While Arthur's fellow plutocrats treated Sam with amused, condescending patience, Arthur talked with him frankly and seriously. He didn't relish the incongruity of paying someone to make his suits who, theoretically, would just as soon have seen him guillotined; his mind didn't work that way. He disagreed with Sam and said so forthrightly, taking Sam's opinions at face value, and Sam treated Arthur's with the same respect, and as a result, as they argued over the years, they became better and better friends. What especially bound them together, though, were their discussions on a topic that was dearer to Sam even than politics: his wife, Miriam. He had married when he was twenty and his bride was seventeen, and he thought then, as he thought now, that Miriam was the most beautiful woman in the world (and he was not deluded in this). He had three sons and two daughters and many grandchildren and even a couple of great-grandchildren: he had loved them all and they had all made him proud (well, one of his daughters had married that pisher, but they got rid of him). But most of all, there was Miriam, a tall woman with long auburn hair and a sweet voice and even sweeter disposition. Sam loved her.

Now, Arthur had also loved his wife. They had fallen in love when he was twenty and she was seventeen, but, unlike the Harrisons, they were not married until several years later (and for that occasion, Sam had made Arthur a new morning coat for free). Without question, that had been the happiest day of Arthur's life. As he said his vows, his voice cracked and he wept. He and Maria (pronounced with a long "i") had been married for sixteen years, and he loved her throughout all that time and he loved her now. But she had died of cancer at age forty (at her most beautiful, Arthur and others believed). As he had been purely happy on his wedding day, so he was in pure despair on the day that Maria died. If the sun had burnt out and the seas dried up, Arthur might have been mildly troubled. Maria's death made him distraught.

The person who best understood what had happened to Arthur was Sam Harrison. "It's a tough break, kid," Sam had said. Arthur had trembled.

"You know, Sam," he had said hoarsely, "I have to travel a lot. The worst thing about it was always leaving her. But it was almost worth it because of how wonderful it was to see her again." Arthur had been unable to speak for a moment. "Now I won't see her again." He had looked at Sam and saw the loose skin under his chin quiver and his eyes, each studded with a mole at the lower lid, begin to water. Sam held Arthur's arm. "Yeetgadal v'yeetkadash sh'mey rabbah," he had whispered. "B'olmo d'vero keerutey." Arthur had not understood the words, nor had he fully grasped the significance of an atheistic Marxist's uttering a prayer, but he appreciated the sentiment.

Sam and Arthur had always talked about Miriam and Maria, and they continued to long after Maria's death. Years later, Arthur would ask Sam about Miriam, and Sam would grin and say, "Well, the other day ..." But he would pause and look at Arthur, who would look back at him in the three-way mirror. Then Sam would say, "You're still thinking about her." And Arthur would say yes, and he would tell Sam some memory he had recently had about Maria - the soup in Madrid, her salamander brooch.

Maria was dead. They had had no children; Arthur himself had been an only child. His father was dead and now old Sam Harrison was dead. Arthur rose and looked out the window. The rising sun gave the rain clouds a dull glow. More cars had appeared. In a typical office building, even on a floor at this height, you could hear traffic, especially the slithering sound of tires on wet asphalt; typically, on a stormy day on a floor this high, the wind created spooky sonic reverberations and the building actually swayed. Arthur's office was different. He heard no traffic or wuthering wind, and he felt no swaying. In his office, all was quiet, still. From his vantage he could see a dozen other buildings, and he thought about all the people who would soon be arriving for work. They constituted a lot of energy, activity, money. A lot of life. Arthur did not wonder what it was all for. It seemed obvious to him what it was all for. His own life was busy and full. He had good friends; his mother was still alive and he was close to her. But he felt heavyhearted and alone.

A few hours later on that same June morning, a meeting was taking place on the fifty-ninth floor of the Beeche Building. It was in the small conference room, the one with no windows. One of the participants in the meeting, indeed its central figure, was a young man named Peter Russell. Peter was thirty-two years old; he had been working for Beeche and Company since his graduation from college, and he had advanced nicely. Despite the doubts he sometimes entertained about the value of his work, he had enjoyed it, he had enjoyed his success, and he had enjoyed his high pay.

On this morning, though, Peter was quite unhappy. In fact, he was at this moment the unhappiest he had ever been during his entire time at Beeche. The meeting, which he had gone into with enthusiasm, had become a savage, grotesque spectacle in which he was the victim. His tormentors had poured hot lead down his throat, cut off his private parts and stuck them in his mouth, and now, while he was still alive, they were tying each of his limbs to four different horses before sending the horses galloping off in four directions. Peter had fixed his face with an interested, wry expression while he listened to his colleagues, but he knew he was blushing bright red and that he was fooling no one. He felt sweat trickling down from his armpits.

It had all come about like this. A few weeks earlier, after a couple of his patrons had been shifted to different offices around the world, Peter had found himself working for a boss whom he didn't know well. The things he'd heard about Gregg Thropp were not encouraging. Thropp was a short, stocky fellow, and he displayed all the Napoleonic traits so common among those of his physical type. He was driven, ambitious, self-important. When he walked, he moved his stubby legs so fast that even the long-legged had to work to keep up. Peter could see for himself that Thropp was insulting and rude to those below him. Others had warned him that Thropp was a devious, lying, backstabbing worm.

Yet toward Peter, Thropp hadn't acted badly at all. To the contrary! Thropp had treated Peter with courtesy. He'd shown Peter respect in meetings. He'd given Peter credit when it was due him and encouraged and praised him, calling him "Champ." Oh, sure, sometimes he could be pretty blunt, but it was hard to see what was so bad about Gregg Thropp. Peter had come to trust Thropp so much that he even went into Thropp's office one day to show him something that had made Peter especially proud. He had played an important part in a couple of notably profitable transactions that had come to fruition when he was working for Thropp but that had been initiated previously. On this day Peter had discovered a small square envelope in his interoffice mail; inside, there was a handwritten note from Arthur Beeche himself! The note read as follows:

Dear Mr. Russell,

Please accept my congratulations on your fine work in the reinsurance and Italian bond matters. Well done!

Yours very truly,

Arthur Beeche

P.S. I hope you will join us soon for one of our entertainments.

Well, as one might imagine, Peter had been bowled over. A personal note from Arthur Beeche! What was more, it looked as if Peter was in line to receive an invitation to dinner at Beeche's house. Arthur entertained often, and his dinners were legendary for the quality of the food and drink and for the glamour of the guests. A few people from the firm were usually included, and to receive your first invitation was an important honor. You were supposed to act nonchalant about it, but Peter had been so amazed and pleased that he'd taken the note into Thropp's office and showed it to him.

"Well, well, well!" Thropp had said. "The Champ scores!" He had stood up and begun to lift and lower his arms in front of him, an absurd-looking motion for one so short. "Come on! The wave! The wave!" Thropp did this a few times before he started laughing too hard to continue. When he had recovered, he had looked at Peter earnestly.

"I'm proud of you, Peter," Thropp had said. "I really am. One thing you can sure say about Arthur Beeche is that he has his eye out for talent. You've done good work and you deserve to be noticed. Congratulations."

Thropp had held out his hand and Peter shook it.

"When I'm working for you," Thropp had continued, "and it looks like that'll be any day now, you won't screw me, will you?

(Continues...)



Excerpted from Beginner's Greek by James Collins Copyright © 2008 by James Collins. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 30 )
Rating Distribution

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(13)

4 Star

(8)

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2 Star

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 30 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 6, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Pretentious Malarkey

    James Collins is full of himself. Totally and utterly. Dick Montague HAS to be modeled after the author. Keep Webster's close while reading because Collins' verbosity will leave a Harvard grad lost and confused. It's not the fact that his diction is SO high-brow, but he chooses less common words which make reading like driving downtown at rush hour. Stop. Go. Stop. Go.

    Also problematic is the underlying misanthropic tone. Does anyone like anyone in this book? If they do, they're more wishy-washy than senator/ex-presidential hopeful John Kerry.

    And the timeline of the book is so erratic. In the "Reading Group Guide" Collins reveals that he doesn't share his work with anyone until it is completed and ready to publish. Well, in future novels he should have someone read over the manuscript or at least provide some sort of road map so readers can make it through the book.

    This book was not the light, happy summer read i had hoped. With every turn of the page, I felt as if I was reading a combination of Ezra Pound's elitistism, James Joyce's stream of consciousness and e.e. cumming's unconventional orthography.

    The book tried too hard to be something it wasn't.

    James Collins... come down from your high horse. You should realize that you're not God's gift to American literature.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 27, 2011

    ZZZZZZZZ...Ugh...Don't Wake Me Up!

    This book really is a testament to the old saying: "Never judge a book by its cover." That's probably the only use it serves. Other than that, what we got here is a crusty, stilted, cliche rag on a flight to nowhere...or maybe to the .50 cent bin.

    I found the characters to be flat, the story to be a cliche boy-meets-girl, and the worst part? The writing is so bad and so forced, you will feel like taking a smoke break just to get away. Seriously. At other times, the word use is so pompous and pseudo-intellectual, you'll just doze off to sleep in lala land.

    If you want to save yourself some time, don't read this book. I can't believe it was authored by a major editor. His writing is in dire need of an overhaul. Big words, lame characters and a schmaltzy "trying to find the one" plot can't serve any good to anyone. As a professor once told me, you find good writing as you would looking out a window. You are looking out onto a story through the window, and having simple, profound language provides a clean glass to see the story through. This book, on the other hand, is a pretty dirty window, and obstructs (and distracts?) our view.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 26, 2012

    will

    Hi

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 22, 2012

    CAMERON TO PERCY

    I LIVE RIGHT BY PEORIA

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 25, 2012

    Annabeth

    Kk percy

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 26, 2012

    AIRFORCE BOMBS THIS PLACE

    BOOOMM

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 25, 2012

    Percy

    Cay c ya there.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 10, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Had me holding my breath

    So much better than a typical romance novel! Just when you think you have it all figured out, there is another plot twist. Very much worth the extra length. I finished this with a smile on my face and a desire to see it made into a movie!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 6, 2010

    I loved this book

    I was captivated by the characters and story and feel the resolution was true and not gimmicky. I have given it to both men and women friends.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 29, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Was good

    I enjoyed this book. It is not an all-time favorite or anything, but was a good read and kept my interest throughout.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 1, 2008

    Fun, fast read

    I thoroughly enjoyed this book! I wanted only the best for Peter and Holly and couldn't wait to hear how their journey would end.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 31, 2008

    A Pleasant Romantic Comedy

    Beginner's Greek is a wonderful, sad, sweet, and funny story, which for a pleasant change is written from a man's point of view. I would disagree with an earlier reader review that classifies this as 'chic lit.' Yes, Peter is a romantic, but we get to see him warts and all. We get to know him inside and out--his feelings of self-doubt and also those moments when he can be swaggering and overconfident, and a bit arrogant or hot-tempered. He meets Holly, the woman of his dreams, when seated by chance beside her on a flight from New York to Los Angeles. Afterwards, Holly gives Peter her number, which he unfortunately loses and regrets terribly. Fast forward a few years and he meets up with her once again, but now she is the girlfriend of his best friend, and he is too much of a gentleman to selfishly intervene. Thus begins a comedy of errors, mis-steps and misccommunications and we get such a good look into Peter's head and the clash of conflicts he has with love, friendship, work, and life in general. This was a wonderful debut novel and an author worth watching.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 16, 2008

    Fun

    I enjoyed this book - easy to read, fast and interesting!

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  • Posted February 2, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    A reviewer

    Okay, so we've probably read it before, seen it before, and heard it before, but we never tire of stories of romance. All the world loves a lover and most of us love romantic stories, especially this one delivered with a twist via the expert pen of James Collins. Another expert delivery is the narrative voice of actor/writer/director Jerry O'Connell. His trained voice beautifully inhabits the persona of Peter Russell. O'Connell aces the scene, whether Peter is humiliated at a business presentation, as in 'He knew he was putrefying before everyone's eyes.' or being lacerated by his arch enemy Thropp who takes boundless delight in ragging him. O'Connell is equally at home voicing Peter as he contemplates meeting the one person in the world meant for him. or the other characters involved in this romantic merry-go-round. The maxim true love never runs smooth takes on added meaning in this often humorous, always engaging debut novel. Peter does, indeed, meet his heart's desire on a flight from New York to Los Angles. Holly is everything he ever dreamed of finding, and she is reading his favorite book, The Magic Mountain by Thomas Mann. She gives him her phone number, which is lost. It seems that with the disappearance of the number Holly is also lost to him, but not quite despite the fact that he's engaged to marry Charlotte, a woman he does not love. At this point, Peter has given up on love. It's not that he isn't quite capable of feeling a deep, passionate love, it was just that 'at this very moment he was deeply, passionately, heartbreakingly, searingly in love with someone. That person just didn't happen to be Charlotte.' How in the world could any of this be sorted out? Displaying first rate authorial skills whether writing about bedrooms or boardrooms, James Collins has delivered a delightful story regarding love today and Jerry O'Connell brings it to added life. Enjoy! - Gail Cooke

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    amusing chick lit romance

    Holly and Peter meet on a flight from New York to Los Angeles and are immediately attracted to one another. At some inner level, they each know they met their life mate. Holly writes her phone number on a page from The Magic Mountain by Thomas Mann and gives it him. That night he goes to get the page, but somehow he lost it he franticly searches but fails to find the key to his happiness. As he goes through the phases of grief, a sad Holly concludes her Peter did not feel the same way as she does. A few years later she marries Peter¿s best friend Jonathan while he and Charlotte agree to wed in a marriage of convenient losers as she also loves someone else. At the wedding ceremony of Peter and Charlotte lightning strikes Jonathan, which leads to a comedy of relationship errors as the newlyweds, Holly and others try to get their just rewards. --- This is an amusing chick lit romance in which one thing leads to another as if James Collins knocked down the first domino which than took several subplot paths knocking down other dominos. Peter and Holly are terrific as they try to move on from that fateful plane trip, but neither fully can because they know who the other is deep inside their heart. Readers will wonder whether they will get together and what about Charlotte in this fun Greek romantic ¿tragedy¿. --- Harriet Klausner

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 7, 2009

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    Posted June 20, 2011

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    Posted January 11, 2009

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    Posted March 25, 2011

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    Posted July 14, 2009

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