Beginner's Greek, by James Collins (Read by Jerry O'Connell)
We all experience the fickle finger of fate at some point in our lives, but Peter Russell's universe seems to be ruled by a god with both hands comprised entirely of fickle fingers. The wistfully romantic Peter imagines that one day he'll encounter the love of his life on an airplane, and when bright and beautiful Holly sits next to him on a cross-country flight, that is exactly what happens. So far, so good. But wait, here comes the first obstacle. Peter's only link to Holly is the phone number she writes on a paper and which he loses before he can call her. Decent, sweet, clever Peter conquers his grief over losing Holly and builds a successful career in finance. When Holly reappears in his life, she is committed to his best friend, and Peter is about to marry Charlotte, the girl he has settled on since he can't have his true love. Coincidence and fate dominate the events of the delightful tale of Peter's quest for love and honor.
Peter is just so likeable, but I found myself wanting to shake him and tell him to speak up and take action. I used to make fun of my mother-in-law for berating her soap opera characters, but I found myself doing the same thing with Peter. James Collins is such a skillful writer that the characters in this book not only live, but they reach out and draw the listener into their world. The intricately woven events in the plot evolve into a conclusion that is satisfactory, but not obvious. There are enough surprises to keep it the outcome from being predictable. Jerry O'Connell's narration is excellent, making Peter both powerful and bumbling and insecure.
Listening to this book is excruciatingly delightful. It's truly like riding a roller coaster with the anticipation of peril, the thrill of plunging into danger and the relief in the recovery from disaster, only to want to experience it again and again. Clever plot twists and amusing characters make this a book to be enjoyed by a wide range of listeners. Anyone who's ever pondered life's choices will find something to love about this exceptionally well-written book.