My Most Excellent Year: A Novel of Love, Mary Poppins, and Fenway Park by Steve Kluger

Last spring, when I was hanging out with Shelby in Salisbury, we went to a bookstore that had recommendations from staff members. I was browsing in the teen section and saw a staff recommendation for this book: My Most Excellent Year: A Novel of Love, Mary Poppins, and Fenway Park by Steve Kluger. I wrote it down in my handy notebook and went home to check the library catalog. They didn’t have it. I got grumpy about that for a minute, and then I put it on my Amazon wishlist. And Geof very kindly purchased it for me for my birthday! Yay, thanks again, Geof!

In My Most Excellent Year, three teenagers reflect upon the best year of their lives, the year that T.C. and Ale flirted their way to a relationship, the year that Augie directed the talent show and finally came out to himself (everyone else already knew he was gay), the year that the three of them befriended a young deaf boy named Hucky who changed their lives as much as they changed his, and the year that the three of them came to know more than a little bit about Mary Poppins. This is a novel about friendship, family, political activism, being true to yourself, first relationships, the Red Sox, and Julie Andrews. Everything in it is just a little too perfect, but it works. It’s nice to read a story about healthy parent/child relationships, about friends who care about and support each other, about helping people because you know how they feel. That’s what My Most Excellent Year is about, and I laughed my way through it. Until the end. When it came to the final giant Mary Poppins twist, I definitely cried. In a good way.

I especially liked how it portrayed the friendship between T.C. and Augie, who consider each other to be brothers rather than just best friends. They had vastly different interests, but they were always there for each other. I also liked the friendship between T.C.’s dad and Augie’s dad. The adults in this book are just as delightful as the teenagers, which isn’t something you always see in teen novels.

It also made me consider the seminar I went to last year at NCLA, the one that talked about the importance of positive or neutral depictions of gay characters in library collections. I had no idea that it had those themes when I put it on my wish list, so that was an extra bonus. This would be a great book for a library collection wanting to add books with gay characters.

I am so glad I finally read this. I just wish I’d had time to get to it sooner!

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  1. […] Through a Glass, Darkly ยป My Most Excellent Year: A Novel of Love, Mary Poppins, and Fenway Park by… Buying books for your book-loving friends is almost always a win. (tags: gfmorris_comment) Posted December 2nd, 2008 in Links. […]

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