Last Days of Summer

by Steve Kluger | Literature & Fiction |
ISBN: 0380797631 Global Overview for this book
Registered by wingGoryDetailswing of Nashua, New Hampshire USA on 7/11/2006
Buy from one of these Booksellers: | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon DE | Amazon FR | Amazon IT |
5 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by wingGoryDetailswing from Nashua, New Hampshire USA on Tuesday, July 11, 2006
OK, this is something like the fifth copy of this book that I've registered - but I really love it, and when I found it on sale at for an irresistably low price I had to nab a couple more copies to release!

I'd enjoyed Kluger's earlier book, Changing Pitches, and had heard good things about this one, but even that didn't prepare me for how much I loved Last Days of Summer - what a delightful book! It's written in Kluger's trademark epistolary/scrapbook style - it's all in the form of letters, newspaper clippings, notes, and the occasional scorecard, telegram, or psychologist-session transcript - and it covers a year in the life of young Joey Margolis, who's trying to cope with being abandoned by his father (not to mention being beaten up by the kids in the Brooklyn neighborhood his mother had to move to after the breakup). This takes place in 1940-1941, and the period feel (both of the social scene and the approach of WWII) is marvelous, but it's the human interactions that make the book. Joey is a con artist extraordinaire, and has the brilliant idea of claiming friendship with a Major League baseball star as a way of keeping the neighborhood goons away from him; he writes to Charley Banks, claiming to be terminally ill and requesting a simple mention of his name at the next game, a la Babe Ruth: "This one's for Joey Margolis". Charley isn't buying it - "Last week it was the plague. Now it's malaria. What do I look - stupid to you?" - but somehow they strike up a correspondance and then a friendship.

How all this comes about is hilariously funny, punctuated with back-chat from Joey, his teachers, family, and friends, and as Charley gets more involved in the boy's life his own teammates and girlfriend chime in too. And there are so many delightful surprises - one of Joey's book reports, for example, in which he starts off saying how much he dislikes the (rather juvenile-sounding) book he's been assigned, and segues from "only a grownup who is screwy would let a kid get in trouble with crooks" to comparing the book to Mein Kampf; right after this there's a note from the principal mentioning that Joey's teacher has taken a sudden leave of absence, for which we can hardly blame her. Later on, Charley Banks has been coerced into helping Joey with some homework, and at one point suggests in a note to the principal, "Why don't you give him 'Withering Heights'? At least Heathcliff knew how to kick some ass." And in one of the report cards, Joey's teacher notes "For no just cause he has developed a particularly toxic loathing for Emily Brontë, a self-possessed and taciturn woman whom he is convinced was covertly working for a foreign government. (I suppose it serves her right for keeping the umlaut.)"

That doesn't convey the full flavor of all the exchanges here; to do that properly I'd have to quote the whole thing. It feels a lot like one of the better screwball-comedy films of the '30s, with outrageous stunts and heartwarming scenes that generally finish with a wicked quip. (Oh, and at some point you will need Kleenex. Trust me on this.) Very funny, very sweet, one of my favorite reads of 2005...

[Kluger's latest book, Almost Like Being in Love, is also a wonderful read. Heck, just get anything the guy writes - I plan to!]

Journal Entry 2 by wingGoryDetailswing from Nashua, New Hampshire USA on Saturday, July 15, 2006
I'm offering this for a bookray (see forum post here), and for this book I will give priority to people who haven't participated in a bookring or ray yet (including those who may have signed up for one but are still more than 5 names down on the mailing order).

Bookray/ring instructions:

When you receive the book, please journal it, and PM the next person in line for their address so you'll have it ready when you've finished the book.
Note: even if you've sent books to that person before, please PM them before mailing this one, to confirm that the address is correct and that they're able to take on a bookring book at this time.
Try and read the book promptly - ideally, within a month of receiving it. (If you expect to take longer, you can request to be put at the end of the list. If you find you're swamped with other books when the person before you contacts you about the bookring, you can ask to be skipped, and then let me know whether you'd like to be moved down the list or dropped entirely. If you receive the book and find it's taking longer than you'd planned to get through it, I'd appreciate an update in its journal entries or on your profile, just to let me and the other participants know you haven't forgotten it.)

When you're ready to pass the book along, please make another journal entry containing your comments about the book and stating where you've sent it, and set the book's status code to "traveling". [If you find that you're having problems contacting the next person in line, or don't think you can manage to mail the book as originally agreed, please let me know; I'll be glad to try to work something out.]


Participants so far, in mailing order:

ilove [Oregon]
iamagirldork [New Mexico]
sleeptodream005 [Mississippi] [skipped; no response to PMs or forum posts]
ilovethehutch [Michigan]
rebeccaljames [Ohio]

Journal Entry 3 by wingGoryDetailswing from Nashua, New Hampshire USA on Thursday, August 03, 2006
Controlled release:

I'm sending this to BCer ilove in Oregon to kick off the bookray; hope you enjoy it!

Journal Entry 4 by ilove from Eugene, Oregon USA on Monday, August 07, 2006
This book arrived safe and sound on Saturday. I've already started reading it and should be done shortly (it seems to be a really quick read). Thanks for including me!

Journal Entry 5 by ilove from Eugene, Oregon USA on Thursday, August 10, 2006
Ok, you were right about needing the kleenex. But I knew what was coming so I was prepared. I loved this book! It was really funny and had me constantly laughing out loud (the other people at the laundromat thought I was nuts). But it was also very touching and sweet. I loved the characters and the author's style. Can't wait to read more by him.

I'll have this in the mail to iamagirldork today or tomorrow.

GoryDetails, thanks for sending this out as a bookray and including us newbies, it was a lot of fun!

Update: Mailed Friday afternoon, 8/11/06

Journal Entry 6 by iamagirldork from Mesa, Arizona USA on Thursday, August 17, 2006
Received today in good health. Can't wait to read.

Journal Entry 7 by iamagirldork from Mesa, Arizona USA on Tuesday, August 22, 2006
Excellent book! I loved the format of it. Most of it was absolutly hysterical and had me laughing out loud. It is a very quick read, and even though the ending is SO predictable, it had me crying like a little baby.

I have PMed sleeptodream005 for her address and am patiently waiting her reply so I can send it on its next journey.

Journal Entry 8 by iamagirldork from Mesa, Arizona USA on Monday, August 28, 2006
Will be sent tomorrow to ilovethehutch.

SHIPPED! 8/29/2006

Journal Entry 9 by rebeccaljames from Cincinnati, Ohio USA on Monday, September 25, 2006
I just received this book today. I noticed that I am the last one on the bookray. So I'm going to take my time and catch up on my reading before I read this book. I am looking forward to reading this book. Thank you for sharing.

Journal Entry 10 by ilovethehutch from Las Vegas, Nevada USA on Tuesday, September 26, 2006
I read this book a couple weeks ago but i forgot to journal it. So now its been passed on its merry ol' way and there's no turning back.

I adored this book. The kid is my hero. A little con artist who somehow always manages to get his way. I didn't feel that the ending was perdictable like Imagirldork thought. It was a wonderful book despite it being about Hitler.

thanks again GoryDetails

Journal Entry 11 by rebeccaljames from Cincinnati, Ohio USA on Monday, January 01, 2007
I must have forgot to journal this when I got it. I have had it for a while. Sorry. I am putting this book as available.

Journal Entry 12 by rebeccaljames from Cincinnati, Ohio USA on Thursday, January 11, 2007
I sent this book to a reader from

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