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Review: Greek Double Date by Marsha Warner

greek double date marsha warner Review: Greek Double Date by Marsha Warner

Readers of this site will probably have twigged right away that television tie-ins about wholesome all-American teens arent at the top of my reading list. However, some of you might have figured out by now that I have an embarrassing fascination with weird American cultural or social institutions. The fact that cheerleaders actually exist beyond prime-time television, for example, seems highly bizarre to me, and the fact that sororities and fraternities are really part of American college life is utterly baffling. Baffling, but curiosity-inducing. And so, with Levi-Straussian* interest I found myself agreeing to review a copy of Marsha Warners Double Date, the first in a projected series of novels written to complement the US television show Greek.

Admittedly, the weird combination of Greek and Roman alphabets on the front cover (and the unfortunate Bieber-esque helmet hair of the male leads) did cause me to set my sights rather low (similarly, I wince whenever I happen upon English novels about Russia arbitrarily and gleefully reversing Rs, but thats another story), and my hopes were further dashed by an opening scene involving a gang of young females shrieking about a mouse but things did pick up from there, and I was rather surprised to find myself in the hands of quite a competent author. Warner writes with confidence, and there are a number of moments in this book where shes very good indeed, working to add surprising depth to some of the minor characters, and to breathe life into what is a terribly flimsy plot (presumably this weak plotting is deliberate, as having a story that could have an impact on the television show would no doubt result in all sorts of complexities that would be difficult to navigate).

The plot goes somewhat thusly: sorority girl and goody-two-shoes Casey Cartwright agrees to attend a science awards dinner as the date of her brothers nerdy room-mate, but finds herself in a pickle when an event scheduled for the next night is moved forwards so that the two clash. Casey finds herself torn (momentarily) between honouring her promise to her brother and heading out on a date with a spunky young lad who has just come on the scene. After a few scenes of angsting, Casey decides to do the right thing, and all is well. Cue creditser, end pages.

Given that this is what Warner has to work with, she performs admirably, and after a slow start gets things moving along at a reasonable pace, while injecting tension galore between Casey and her myriad would-be (and has-been) suitors, and drumming up a mysterious past for Caseys date. However, the novel as a whole struggles under the rigid framework necessitated by the Greek franchise, and abounds with character info-dumps and recaps of previous seasons and episodes. Unsurprisingly, the characters and situations found in the book also seem more suited to television than a novel, and there are lines of dialogue and awkward cutaway scenes that I can see working well on the small screen (particularly when enhanced with a laugh-track), but that feel contrived on paper. The over-the-top religious ardour of Caseys date, and the puppy-dog like behaviour of Caseys ex, for example, would be great for laughs on television but feel painfully flat and cliched on the page.

There are a few other moments in this that I felt were a little eyebrow-raising, too: the incessant description of essentially all boys behaviour as stalkerish, the tokenistic minority characters (no doubt part of the legacy of the fact that this is derived from a television show), the normalisation of alcoholism, and the constant references to strippers and the way in which some girls dark pasts are such due to their sexual history. 'However, there are some inclusions that help mitigate these issues somewhat: Warners depiction of the struggle involved in being an outed homosexual in a fraternity, Caseys struggles with her identity, and the quite realistic and pragmatic discussion of the students futures upon leaving college, for example.

In all, Double Date is a quick read that doesnt offer much in the way of plot, but that does quite well given that its hamstrung from the beginning by the requirements that it fit so carefully between the episodes of its on-screen sibling.

*a cultural anthropologist famed for his theory but rather abysmal at all things fieldwork-related

Rating: star Review: Greek Double Date by Marsha Warnerstar Review: Greek Double Date by Marsha Warnerhalfstar Review: Greek Double Date by Marsha Warnerblankstar Review: Greek Double Date by Marsha Warnerblankstar Review: Greek Double Date by Marsha Warner (not bad)

With thanks to Meryl L. Moss Media Relations, Inc. for the review copy

Purchase Greek: Double Date from Amazon | Book Depository UK | Book Depository USA

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