My Most Excellent Year

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

I love, love this book. Now, I’ll admit to some serious bias as I adore the Red Sox, Boston and musical theater, but I really do love it.  I’ve read complaints that teens don’t really talk like that, or people aren’t that witty in real life, blah, blah, etc.  Of course they aren’t.  We need something to strive for!  Do you think everyone was really quite interesting in Oscar Wilde’s time or that he just wrote them that way?  I refuse to settle for mediocrity simply because it’s the norm.

My Most Excellent Year is written in different formats, ranging from a diary assignment for school to Instant Messages, to e-mails.  While the main voices in the book are that of T.C., his best friend Augie and the girl he adores, Alejandra, we do get some e-mails from parents mixed in.  It is a story of hope, friendship, first loves and perseverance.  And it is delightful.  Just read it.  I can’t do it justice in the review.

Extra pluses (from my point of view): This book is pretty political. If you’re not into equality you may want to stay away.  Also with two main characters who are not white and a deaf character, points for diversity.

Great for: Fans of Glee!  Anyone who is fan of Kurt will appreciate the same diva tendencies in Augie.  Plus, there’s all the singing and dancing.  Also great for fans of the Red Sox.  It’s come to my attention that with all this World Series winning we’ve been doing last decade that it is possible that there are fans who are not as steeped in the culture and history of the team, but for those of us who live and breathe Sox, this book is a delight.

Sex, Nudity, Dating – Nothing very sexual happens in this book aside from two fairly chaste first kisses.  Other than that: T.C. has two gay aunts. In a comparison of the Kennedys, T.C. says that JFK played with Marilyn Monroe’s underwear.    T.C. writes about whether or not a girl his father went out with has real boobs.  Augie laments all the nudity occurring in the showers at school. A reference to erections.  Fairly frequent discussion of the relative cuteness of various backsides.  T.C. jokes that his father is dating a Playboy model. T.C writes in his diary that Ale is sexy.
Profanity– “ass,” “screw,” “damn,” “pissed,” “fag” used as a deliberate slur against gays. “fucking,” “crap,” “hell,” The boys make up their own swear “gink,” and use it throughout.  “bullshit,” “heck,” “dick,” “piss off,” “shit,” “goddamn,” “bitch,”
Death, Violence and Gore – T.C.’s mother died when he was six.  Wei complains about lyrics in a song that mention a woman not caring how frequently a man strikes her. In an off-hand hyperbolic way Augie says he’ll just go shoot himself.  After a bad falling out with a boy Augie says “no wonder Romeo and Juliet killed themselves”.
Drugs, Alcohol and Smoking – A vague reference to a character in a Shakespeare play ending up in AA.  When they met, Ted’s mother bought his father a beer.  Ale says a tuba player should probably be on sedatives.
Frightening or Intense Things – Alejandra read a book about the Japanese internment camps during World War II and found it very upsetting.

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3 Responses to My Most Excellent Year

  1. JMLC says:

    As you know, I adore this book as well. I think it should be required reading for anyone from, going to or who might have heard of Boston. Plus, I heard the author speak and he based it on Brookline- MY TOWN. 🙂

  2. Pingback: Beach Reads: Teen Romance | altdotlife: Build your own village

  3. Sharon says:

    Okay, I’ve just started this book and it’s so incredibly good I can’t believe how long it took me to read it. I think my favorite part is that the parents aren’t clueless or absent or obnoxious–they’re cool and loving and part of their kids’ lives. There’s no bad guy, but a lot of tension–how did he do that? LOVE it–thanks for talking me into it.

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