Completion Date: April 15, 2012
Reason for Reading: Amy loves him.
"Last Days of Summer" is the story of Joey Margolis, neighborhood punching bag, growing up goofy and mostly fatherless in Brooklyn in the early 1940s. A boy looking for a hero, Joey decides to latch on to Charlie Banks, the all-star third baseman for the New York Giants. But Joey's chosen champion doesn't exactly welcome the extreme attention of a persistent young fan with an overactive imagination. Then again, this strange, needy kid might be exactly what Banks needs.Amy from Thrifty Reader is one of my oldest blogging friends, so we have come to know each other pretty well. She put Steve Kluger on my radar a few years ago and I finally read My Most Excellent Year by him last year. I loved it! Unfortunately it was the only book the library had by him, so he sort of fell off my radar again. About once a week, though, I glance at what Kobo has for free or under 4.99 and this book showed up the other day. Let me explain my reading experience with it. I started it the night of the 14th and read it almost entirely in one sitting, but it was getting late and I was getting sleepy. Then, at 6 the next morning Casey (the cat) decided that since she was awake she would play. Since I was awake anyway I decided to read the last few pages of the book. (This suited Casey as she was immediately in my face with a toy in her mouth.)
As with My Most Excellent Year, I didn't think it was going to be my sort of book. Yes, it is epistolary and set just before and during World War II, but it has a young boy as the main character, which can annoy me, and I wasn't sure how thrilled I would be about the constant baseball references. But, as you can probably guess judging by how quickly I flew through this book there is something special about the way that Kluger writes. I just found myself caught up in the story, the characters, and even the baseball. I think Kluger perfectly captures that time period from lots of different viewpoints. There is Joey Margolis, a young Jewish boy, who is the main character. His father has basically abandoned him and the neighbourhood is treating him cruelly. He tells people that Charlie Banks, the baseball player, is his best friend and then goes about making it a reality in a very creative way. This book shows their interaction and eventual connection, but it also includes Joey's family, Charlie's girl, and his fellow team players.
This book will make you laugh and bring tears to your eyes.You will find yourself flipping through the pages wanting to know what adventures they get into next. Believe me when I tell you, even if you read the descriptions to Kluger's three novels and think they are not for you, you should still rush out and see if the library has one. There is just something captivating about his books. You will not be disappointed!
If you are curious, here is my review of My Most Excellent Year.