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Almost Like Being in Love: A Novel Paperback – May 11, 2004


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; First Edition edition (May 11, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060595833
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060595838
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.4 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (95 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #165,108 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Kluger's latest epistolary novel (after the well-received Last Days of Summer) is an engrossing, often laugh-out-loud tale of two unlikely lovers. High school jock Craig McKenna and Broadway musical-obsessed Travis Puckett fall in love during their senior year at the Beckley School in Tarrytown, N.Y., spend a summer in Manhattan, then drift tearfully away to different colleges: Travis to USC, Craig to Harvard. Twenty years later, oddball Travis, now a history professor at his alma mater, is a favorite with students thanks to some unorthodox teaching methods, but he's laughably unlucky in love. An injury ended Craig's college football career, and he's now an upstate New York attorney with activist inclinations and a soft spot for runaways. He's also about to marry long-term boyfriend Clayton-though he's never forgotten his first romance. As Travis wades through the dating pool (most of his dates score badly on his "Boyfriend Checklist") and doles out advice to his straight screenwriter roommate Gordo, Craig takes on the biggest case of his life: a run for the state assembly. When Travis becomes determined to reunite with Craig, he sets off on a wild cross-country adventure, providing perfect fodder for Gordo's ultimate screenplay. In true fairy-tale fashion, Travis insinuates himself back into Craig's life, but will the pair end up happily ever after? Though the narrative is overlong, Kluger keeps it absorbing with a parade of newspaper articles, letters, diary entries, checklists, court transcripts and charts, all composed to brilliant comic and dramatic effect.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Steve Kluger has written extensively on subjects as far-ranging as World War II, rock 'n' roll, and the Titanic, and as close to the heart as baseball and the Boston Red Sox. He lives in Santa Monica, California.


More About the Author

STEVE KLUGER shook hands with Lucille Ball when he was 12. He's since lived a few more decades, but nothing much registered after that.

Kluger is a novelist and playwright who grew up during the Sixties with only two heroes: Tom Seaver and Ethel Merman. Few were able to grasp the concept. A veteran of "Casablanca" and a graduate of "The Graduate," he has written extensively on subjects as far-ranging as World War II, rock and roll, and the Titanic, and as close to the heart as baseball and the Boston Red Sox (which frequently have nothing to do with one another). Doubtless due to the fact that he's a card-carrying Baby Boomer whose entire existence was shaped by the lyrics to "Abbey Road," "Workingman's Dead," and "Annie Get Your Gun" (his first spoken words, in fact, were actually stolen from "The Pajama Game"), he's also forged a somewhat singular path as a civil rights advocate, campaigning for a "Save Fenway Park" initiative (which qualifies as a civil right if you're a Red Sox fan), counseling gay teenagers, and--on behalf of Japanese American internment redress--lobbying the Department of the Interior to restore the baseball diamond at the Manzanar National Historic Site. Meanwhile, he's donated half of his spare time to organizations such as Lambda Legal, GLSEN, and Models of Pride, and gives the rest of it to his nephews and nieces: Emily, Noah, Bridgette, Audrey, Elisa, Paloma, Logan, Evan, and Robbie--the nine kids who own his heart. He lives in Boston, Massachusetts--the only city in the world.

Customer Reviews

Thogh it's a gay romance the book is a must read for any romantic at heart.
barry
The only thing standing in the way of an "Almost Like Being in Love" happy ending is his girlfriend!
Alejandra Perez
The supporting characters are excellent and as fully real as Craig and Travis.
Heather

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

35 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Michael T. Rognlien VINE VOICE on September 26, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
When I started this book, I was a bit leary of reading an entire story full of narratives and articles, as I'd never been presented a novel in that storytelling format.

Having read the book in one sitting, though, I can say with confidence that it worked extremely well. Mr. Kluger has a natural sense of comic timing and wit, without being excessively catty or bitchy in the process. While I would have liked a bit more at the end of the book (after so much buildup, it felt rushed) the journey with the characters was well worth the somewhat stilted ending.

If it's any help, after reading this, my first Kluger novel, I bought the rest of his catalog on Amazon. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did!
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful By M. Jensen on May 26, 2004
Format: Paperback
Saying a book is a summer book usually means it's fun, but brainless. Nothing could be further from the truth when talking about Almost Like Being In Love. Mr. Kluger's book is certainly fun and easy to read, but what makes it a summer book is the heartwarming, breezy tale of a love that has to be despite the odds against it. Like Last Days of Summer (Mr. Kluger's previous book) Almost is cleverly told through an endlessly imaginative array of emails, letters, newspaper clippings, menus, and, my favorite, the boyfriend checklist.
The more I read of the book, the more I wanted to learn how everything turned out, especially since Mr. Kluger set himself the challenge of giving us a happy ending when someone had to be hurt at the end. Yet, he does it and you walk away from Almost Like Being in Love feeling that life can be great and love does sometimes win in the end. I hope that this book is as big a hit as Last Days of Summer despite it's gay content. Only a grinch (or conservative Republicans as I call them) could not read this book and feel good at the end.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Angie J. Han on June 28, 2005
Format: Paperback
This book is often unrealistic and less than subtle, not to mention overly optimistic and sometimes nauseatingly cute. On the other hand, would you expect otherwise from a romance novel?

The wildly romantic tale glides along on sheer charm. It's a playful, fun story filled out with endearing major and minor characters-- Travis's roommate Gordo's correspondences with his father comprise some of the funniest moments. Moreover, Kluger actually throws in some twists and turns, none of which are wholly original, but which do keep the story fresh and interesting through the end.

All in all: You aren't going to impress any lit crit majors at cocktail parties, and the novel does require some suspension of disbelief. But it is a fast, breezy read, ideal for the beach or airplane. I enjoyed it far more than I expected to.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Matthew Merendo on March 8, 2006
Format: Paperback
*In case you can't tell from the length, I really, really loved this novel, and if this review helps ONE person make the decision to buy and read this gem, I'll feel as if my day has been well-spent.*

The more I read, the more my sense of inner horror threatened to erupt. With each turned page, a heavy sense of despair and foreboding settled over my mind. "Was the book that bad?" you ask me. I reply with a resounding "No!" "Why, then, were you horrified? Why, then, were you despairing?" you question. "Because," I answer, "with each flip of a page, I was one page closer to the end."

Stereotypes are misunderstood. They're so often used because they're so often true. I'm about to use a valid one now, in fact: there are two types of gay novels, and surprisingly enough, they follow the ancient Greek theories on theater. There is the gay drama, which must include at least two gay-bashings (one of which often results in death), at least one failed suicide attempt, forty-seven deaths by AIDS, and the Romance to End All Romances nipped in the bud by prejudice, suicide, AIDS, or all of the above. Gay drama is almost always synonymous with 'gay tragedy,' is almost always political, and often has a Moral -- to awaken people to the terrors of gay prejudice and change the course of society. Almost Like Being In Love (which I will from now on refer to as ALBIL) is not of the gay drama variety (thank God). No, ALBIL is a gay comedy. These are, like Austen's Pride and Prejudice, "light & bright & sparkling," usually quite literally, since they often have flashy covers. Gay comedies, while they may touch on some serious issues, never confront them directly and approach them only through a lens tinted with laughter.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Jamieson Villeneuve on June 27, 2005
Format: Paperback
Everyone remembers their first love. The one who woke their heart, the one that made their breath stop. The one that made your heart beat. The one that got away. What if you could have another chance at that love? Would you take it?

It is 1978. Travis and Craig attend the same finishing school, though they are in different crowds. Travis is the school nerd while Craig is the school jock. They go in completely different circles until fate brings them together. While working on the play Brigadoon together, they spark something inside each other. Soon, the two of them fall in love and begin to explore everything possible about the other person. They decide, that summer, to rent an apartment in the city so that they can be together.

What follows is the most wonderful summer of either of their lives, but all good things must come to an end. They are each going to different colleges: Travis to UCLA and Craig to Harvard. They know that at the end of the summer, it will be goodbye. Though they write to each other at first, the letters soon die out and they lose contact with each other.

Flash forward twenty years. It is now 1998. Craig is a lawyer with his own firm and Travis is teaching history at his alma mater. Craig is living with his boyfriend, Clayton and Travis is still searching for love. He begins to think back to a summer he has never quite forgotten; to the boy he first loved.

Doing something completely uncharacteristic, Travis decides to go on a cross country trip to find Craig and let him know that he is still the man of his dreams. He breaks into Craig's mother's office to find Craig's address and then he is on his way, with help from his best friend Gordo, a wise cracking waitress named A. J. and even Clayton.
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