A Novel of Love, Mary Poppins & Fenway Park
by Steve Kluger
First sentence: “Since you’d never guess it from looking at me, nobody can tell that words like because, fart, there, and banana come out sounding like “becazz,” “faht,” “they-a,” and “bananer” when I say them out loud.”
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There are many things in my life that make me smile. Like:
And this book. This book made me unavoidably, undeniably, unabashedly happy.
It’s the simple story of a year in the lives of three high school freshmen: Bostonian and die-hard Red Sox fan (is there any other kind?) T. C. Keller (also known as Tony C and Tick but never, ever Anthony); his brother (in all ways except biology since age six) and diva extraordinaire (can you recite All About Eve word-for-word? I thought not.) Augie Hwong; and newbie Alejandra Perez, daughter of the former ambassador to Mexico and closet singer/dancer (who just doesn’t know how brilliant she is). It’s not like there’s a big crisis or a huge plot arc; this book is full of little things. Little things — like T.C. and Augie being brothers; or the discovery of Hucky, a six year old deaf kid that T.C. befriends; or the talent show and subsequent Kiss Me Kate production; or the three love stories, where there were no burst of passion, no sparkles, no in love at first sight, but instead just honest-to-goodness learning how to love and forgive and compromise. (Yeah, I know, I generally have a problem with lasting high school love, but this was just so darn adorable, that I forgave them the high school part.)
Sure, it’s unrealistic, but I plain didn’t care. I wanted to move in next door to T.C. and Augie and Ale. Shoot, I wanted to be a part of their crazy, wonderful, lovable extended family. (Much like the Cassons; I want to be a part of their family, too.) And I didn’t want this book to end. Which, really, is the best thing I can say.