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Last Days of Summer Updated Ed: A Novel Paperback – June 3, 2008
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The place is Brooklyn, the time is the early '40s, and young baseball fanatic Joey needs a hero badly in his life. How that hero becomes Charlie--and ultimately Joey himself--forms the dimensions of the novel's field, but it's the way the game is played that's so remarkable. The story's told not through conventional narrative but by way of Joey's abstract scrapbook: letters, postcards, news clippings, box scores, report cards, matchbook covers, dispatches from FDR, telegrams, even an invitation to Joey's own Bar Mitzvah and the gift list from the affair.
Delightful throughout, Summer develops a deeper traction when Charlie goes off to war, then turns poignant in its seemingly preordained aftermath. It is a triumph of style, to be sure, but a triumph of style without loss of substance. --Jeff Silverman --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
More About the Author
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.
Top Customer Reviews
It's not a new concept - fatherless, smart-aleck boy gains begrudging mentor who changes his life forever - but the characters are fresh and relatable. Joey Margolis is a mouthy Jewish kid growing up in Brooklyn. After one too many beatings from the neighborhood bullies, he claims NY Giants' 3rd baseman Charles Banks is his best friend. When he's pressured for proof, Joey writes to Banks to request a home run, starting a flurry of funny, emotionally authentic letters. The letter exchange - peppered by miscellaneous newspaper articles, report cards and psychiatrist's transcripts - continues over a period of seven years, chronicling Joey and Banks' tumultuous but fiercely devoted friendship. The unlikely pair crack jokes, poke fun, threaten, boss, cajole, confide, advise and offer support to one another as the two face extended tours, Bar Mitzvahs, first girlfriends, last girlfriends and absentee fathers.
It is not only Joey's coming of age that is revealed in their notes, but Banks' too. Yeah, there's some baseball talk, but although the sport is what brings the characters together, it's still secondary to the sincere, funny, totally believable relationship between a boy and his reluctant hero.
This book is about a boy and a man who change one another's life. It is laugh-out-loud funny, it is moving, and contrary to other reviews I found it completely believable--Joey Margolis is so unusual that his exploits seem completely within his abilities, but at the same time he has very human flaws. The time you've spent reading this review could have been put to better use reading the book!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The epistolary format is clever, though it puts the story all into the past tense. Funny schemes of the boy throughout. Read morePublished 2 months ago by J. Rodeck
I got this book for my son's required summer reading and ended up thoroughly enjoying it myself. And I don't even particularly like sports.Published 5 months ago by Jen J-K
I enjoyed this story a lot. I believe it is for young adults and I think they would relate to the chararacters. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Donald E. Burnette
This is one of my all time favorite books, hands down. Even though I've read it at least once a year since 2001, it still makes me bawl like a baby. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Jessamine
I absolutely LOVED this book. I couldn't stop laughing out loud. What a great read!Published 7 months ago by Andy K