Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Review of Almost Like Being In Love: A Novel by Steve Kluger

Almost Like Being In Love: A Novel by Steve Kluger

Have you ever finished a book and thought, "Geez. I think the author wrote this book just for me." Well, that's how I feel about Almost Like Being In Love. Is it so damned funny that it made me laugh out loud more than any other book I've read in my life? Yep. Is the structure of the book refreshingly outside of the box and utterly unique (POV of various characters reflected by numerous memos, letters, newspaper articles, journals, etc.)? Check. Are the characters fascinating, clever, funny as hell, touching, loving and lusty? Damned straight (okay, that was a joke because this book is totally gay, which is part of its unbelievable charm). Does it have a multitude of pop culture references, sports statistics and political observations mixed together into an incredible amalgam of storytelling? Uh-huh. Did I totally fall in love with flawed, funny, wonderful characters? I sure did. And finally, did one of my favorite themes of all time--what constitutes a loving family beyond the bonds of blood and marriage--resonate with perfect clarity? Oh dear God, yes. Kluger shows us how a precocious baseball player's son, anal retentive gay history professor, politically minded lawyer with a Red Sox obsession, a secretary with a heart of gold and loyalty beyond comprehension, and a bevy of other characters somehow find themselves as part of one, loving, wonderful family. Hot diggity dog. It just doesn't get better than that.

Well, actually it does. Because in addition to that, Kluger also creates an amazing anticipation as we follow Travis' journey to locate his long-lost love. I was totally stressing out. What would happen? Would Craig reject him? Rejoice? How was Clayton going to react to all of this? The ending of this book was just as satisfying as the most romantic of romance novels. I got my HEA, and I freaking cried. Oh yeah, happy days.

This book is not for everyone. Especially folks who are perfectly content with the standard romance novel. It is quirky. It is about gay love. The structure of the book takes some getting used to. No one says "I wanna eat you like candy, baby." (Sorry, I just couldn't resist that one!). This book is truly beyond a grade. I want to marry it and have its babies. But since I do have to grade it, it is clearly getting an A+. Let me leave you with one more hilarious snippet from this story that made me laugh out loud!

FROM THE JOURNAL OF Travis Puckett...

$38 for fish?! Are these people out of their fucking minds?! What do they put in the cream sauce--plutonium? And get this: $9 for verre d'eau. Know what that means in English? Glass of water! "Our orchestra is pleased to welcome those couples in love." Yeah? For $38, you'd better blow me.

Almost Like Being In Love: A Novel
Grade: A+