Friday, December 23, 2016

The Best Man by Richard Peck

Archer Magill's story starts and ends with weddings - but all the fun happens in the in-between.

He makes friends with a girl, his class gets a long-term substitute teacher and then they get a MALE student teacher. There's bullying, sick grandparents, baseball, a new school, and a budding realization that if he keeps his ears and eyes open there is a big, fantastic world happening all around Archer.

The book shifts back and forth in time as Archer tells his own story, and it covers his first-grade through sixth-grade years. It's no secret to reveal there's a gay marriage - Archer tells you right away - but there are plenty of other surprises along the way.

It's a realistic look at modern schools and multi-generational families. A lot of the humor comes at Archer's expense, since his friend Lynette is as savvy as he is oblivious. It's a story sweet, sad, funny, and very, very good.

When I finished, I actually sighed, closed the book, and said aloud, "Oh, Richard Peck." What a writer! What a book! What a fantastic tale told well! Can you tell I loved it?

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