Monday, October 3, 2022

Book Review: Love and Agita


By Sara Steven

"The Hating Game meets My Big Fat Greek Wedding!"

You think you have a crazy family? Meet Leo Donati, a great guy from a wacky New York Italian family, who is expected to live his life a certain way. There are a few family rules etched in stone that he has done his best to follow:

1. Attend Sunday family dinner. It’s at 2:00. Nobody knows why.
2. Love your mother.
3. Never tell Nonna you're full. Unless you have a death wish.
4. Marry Italian.
5. Family comes first. Always. Friends come and go, but family is forever. 

The only problem? He's not living his best life. Not even close. Single, lonely, and spending way too much time at the gym burning sexual energy and ungodly amounts of pasta, Leo hopes his life will change when his father hands over the family business. If only things were that simple. A takeover offer on the business puts Leo on the war path against a strikingly sexy, but overly competitive Jewish woman who is seemingly intent on ruining his life. At least that's how Leo sees it.

As tension rises and Italian tempers flare, Leo wonders if perhaps hate isn't the most accurate word for how he feels about his new nemesis. But it could never work. Yeah, the pizza bagel exists, but real-life cultural divides are more complicated than that, aren't they?

Humor abounds as corporations and cultures collide. Leo tries to thwart the takeover, find love and happiness, while also trying to avoid being bludgeoned to death by his Nonna's wooden spoon. (Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads)

Yep. “The Hating Game meets My Big Fat Greek Wedding” couldn’t be a better description for Love & Agita! Leo and Rae are two great characters who couldn’t appear to be more opposite from one another. Yet, they both feel pressured by the familial obligations that have been placed on them, as well as the cultural traditions that separate Leo’s large Italian family from Rae’s Jewish one. It was really neat to learn about the two, as well as the different expressions and sayings that they’d picked up from their families over the years. It reminded me of My Big Fat Greek Wedding and patriarch Gus Portokalos with his “Give me any word, and I show you how the root is Greek.”

And then there’s the work factor. Leo has been his dad’s right hand man with their family business, clearly intent on someday taking over, finally able to put into place a lot of the modern practices he’s been wanting to implement for so long, against his dad’s wishes. But it all goes South when Rae is thrown into his world, instantly creating some strange sort of love/hate emotion that is hard for Leo to keep under wraps. The feeling is definitely mutual. Rae feels the same way, and it becomes a constant struggle against maintaining a level of professional distance, while also wanting to potentially kiss Leo’s face off. Or pummel it. She isn't sure which on any given day.

As with other Grayson Avery books, the proof is in the dialogue! I’ve read the entire Sweet Water Circle series created by Avery, and dialogue is such an important factor. There’s nothing better than immense wit and humor, and that was plentiful here in Love & Agita. It brought out the best and worst within Leo and Rae, and lent a better way into seeing who the characters are and how they interact with not just one another, but the other characters within the book. It’s playful and fun, and when there are moments that aren’t so playful or fun, I felt it even more because it delineated from the norm. 

Leo just wants to be understood and to reach his full potential, and Rae wants the same things–they just don’t know it yet, or how to achieve that with their at times overbearing family. It was interesting to see them come out from their shells in a sense, and grow. I really enjoyed their story and all the hilarious scenarios that came with it!

Thanks to Rachel's Random Resources for the book in exchange for an honest review.

Purchase Links:
Amazon US * Amazon UK

Grayson Avery is the author of The Sweet Water Circle Series, a romantic comedy series that focuses on childhood friends in their 30s and 40s as they help each other navigate the stormy waters of dating, marriage, divorce, and a whole lot of inappropriate, naughty, and downright hysterical situations. 

Visit Grayson online:
Website * Facebook * Amazon * Goodreads

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1 comment:

Susie Wilson said...

Loved this book! Grayson has opened my eyes to a whole new genre!