Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Review: Almost Like Being in Love by Steve Kluger


A high school jock and nerd fall in love senior year, only to part after an amazing summer of discovery to attend their respective colleges. They keep in touch at first, but then slowly drift apart. Flash forward twenty years. Travis and Craig both have great lives, careers, and loves. But something is missing .... Travis is the first to figure it out. He's still in love with Craig, and come what may, he's going after the boy who captured his heart, even if it means forsaking his job, making a fool of himself, and entering the great unknown. Told in narrative, letters, checklists, and more, this is the must-read novel for anyone who's wondered what ever happened to that first great love.
WINNER 2004 LAMDA LITERARY AWARD
This book made me both laugh out loud and cry while reading it. It's not a book where you'll find explicit sexual scenes, instead you'll find love -- all types of love. Love between couples, but also friendships that last years without wavering between people who know how to give and take, and love and friendships that are born out of a sense of immediate connection.

The story is told in narrative form from different points of view, but mostly by Travis and Craig. We know what's happening in both their lives throughout a 20 year span from 1978 when they meet at prep school until their present. Somehow, through their journal entries, memos, faxes, e-mails, notes, letters, lists, and other means of written communication we not only get to know them, but the people around them also become well defined characters with unique personalities.

During those 20 years, Travis becomes a history professor, whose use of baseball analogy to teach history is unique and often misunderstood by faculty--although his students are certainly appreciative. His love life is also next to non-existent. Meanwhile, Craig and his best friend Charlene are partners at a successful law firm, where his liberal agenda takes precedence over everything else. Craig has been luckier in love, he has maintained a steady relationship with his live-in partner of 12 years, Clayton.

The central, secondary characters and the plot are so well developed and defined in Almost Like Being in Love, that the characters jump out of the pages and weather you want it or not, pull you into their lives. I know I became invested in all the characters. Besides Travis and Craig (after all, I fell in love with both of them), weather it was Charlene, Jodi, Noah, Gordo, A.J, Clay or Travis' football player students, I wanted to know more about them. They made this novel complete and irresistible.

This is a love story on so many levels. A beautiful novel of first love and how that first love influenced and changed Travis and Craig's lives, even when apart. How in turn that love and those changes affected those around them. Who can't relate to those feelings of first love that Craig and Travis felt at 17? Who hasn't wondered what happened to that one person who made such a difference in their lives?

A gorgeous novel that will hook you and keep you reading, Almost Like Being in Love by Steve Kluger makes it to the top of my list. This was an outstanding read for me and one I highly recommend.

Visit Steve Kluger here.

10 comments:

  1. Hils, it's on my TBB list. Can't wait to read it.

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  2. Indi, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. I think this is the type of book you'll definitely enjoy... from the characterization to the plot and pace. I'll never think of Alexander Hamilton without linking him to baseball, lol! (You know I'm a baseball fanatic) -- we'll talk more about this after you read the book. :)

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  3. I got this book from the library and actually skimmed through it last week-end. Now, I need to sit down and crack it open and read every single word... but it sounds good :)

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  4. Nath! Is this your first GLTB book? It's a funny, touching romance... I really hope you enjoy it, great characters in this book. :D

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  5. Hils, you're review has made this book irresistible! My library has this one so I've put it on my list.

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  6. Oh, Leslie! I hope you enjoy it! You & Nath are making me nervous since I know neither of you read GLTB, but this is such a good one to read. :)

    I can tell you this: I loved Craig's last line in the book & Travis' left me with a watery grin on my face. :)

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  7. Sorry nath, it means, Gay, Lesbian, Transexual, Bisexual -- those are the initials used often to describe the gay community as a whole and the literature itself, if you want to be correct about it, instead of just using M/M. However, this book specifically focuses on M/M love. :)

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  8. Ohhh. Well it's not really going to be my first GLTB book. I've read yaoi manga before and enjoyed them :) Just never read a book, book :P

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  9. Oh great, nath! I'm dying to try yaoi manga, but didn't get to it yet. Maybe this year. :)

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