Monday, May 26, 2008

Three books in three days!!!

This makes me a very happy bookkitten, indeed! Let me tell you about my 3rd read: Almost Like Being in Love, by Steve Kluger, who is very quickly becoming one of my favorite authors.

Yes, I know, I have stated in my profile that I am not a fan of romance--but this is a Steve Kluger novel!!!! I just love the guy's way of storytelling. He doesn't write a story in a beginning to end essay format, no!! He writes using multiple formats. For example, in the same chapter, you can find the story unfolding through checklists, E-mails, newspaper clippings, customer comment cards, and even court documents. Occassionally the characters pop up and write narratives to fill in some gaps, but the frequent changes in format is what keeps the story moving along and exciting.

The story starts unfolding at a fictional Tarrytown, New York prep school in 1978. Travis is a senior in love with Broadway, Barbra Streisand, and Brigadoon. (Brigadoon will play a major underlying role in the story; if you are familiar with the musical, you'll recognize the title of the story is also the title of one of its signature songs). Craig, also a senior, is the campus jock, a champion quarterback and dyed-in-the-wool Red Sox fan. Both meet while working as crew members for the school musical, Brigadoon, and very rapidly fall in love. Three months later, by graduation, the duo has sublet an apartment in a Manhattan brownstone, started working for a record shop, and begun planning for the rest of their life together.

Then college intervenes. Travis attends USC, and Craig winds up at Harvard. They lose touch shortly after they start freshman year.

Fast forward twenty years. Craig is a successful attorney living with his partner in Saratoga Springs. Travis is an American history professor at USC. Travis hasn't quite gotten over Craig, and one day, while on a date with the school's hunky associate librarian, hears the tune "Almost Like Being in Love" for the first time in twenty years.

At that moment, he decides to put his life on hold and search for Craig.

With not many leads, Travis suddenly remembers that Craig's mother is a doctor in St. Louis, finds her name, and calls her. Not much comes out of that one phone call, so Travis decides to hitchhike to St. Louis, fake appendicitis, and make an appointment to see Craig's mother.

This is when he learns that Craig's mother is an OB-GYN.

Undeterred, Travis sneaks into Craig's mother's office while the cleaning crew is there (and past the security guard) and raids her Rolodex to get Craig's contact information. Long story short, after he is jailed for trespassing and then bailed out, he and his new waitress friend decide to make a cross-country trip to Saratoga Springs to find Craig.

Meanwhile, in Saratoga Springs, Craig has a successful law partnership with his best friend, Charleen, from his Harvard days. His partner, Clayton, owns a successful hardware store. Clay is a little possessive about Craig and won't let him do anything that is attributed to his passion: civil rights and politics. Naturally, when Craig decides to run for office, Clay blows a gasket.

As all of this is going on, Craig and Charleen are working on a child custody case with a minor league baseball player in Utica named Jody. Jody likes Charleen, but Charleen resists his first.

Finally, Travis DOES make it to Saratoga Springs and meets up with Clay. Travis is determined to hate him at first...but ends up liking him!!

OK, with all of these situations in the pot, is anyone getting confused yet?

I won't spoil the end for anyone. Kluger certainly has a way of keeping his readers in suspense, which is why I had trouble putting this book down. Who will end up with who at the end? I can't tell you! You're just going to have to read the book!

NYAH! (Sorry, just had to throw that in). :)

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