Wednesday, August 30, 2017

The Best Man by Richard Peck

The Best Man
by Richard Peck [j Peck] 

This book is catalogued as “juvenile” but that doesn’t make this a simple tale. This contemporary story begins and ends with weddings, and in the middle is a wonderful coming-of-age story as we learn how important families are.

Archer greatly admires his grandfather, his dad, and his uncle and wants to be just like them. They provide a foundation for him as they help him work his way through school bullying, the divorce of a friend’s parents, illness and death, and learns about friendship and family. Told with warmth, humor, and poignancy, at times you’ll tear up, at others you’ll laugh out loud:

“(His sister) went to driver’s education the summer she was 16 and practiced on Grma MaGill’s ’92 Lincoln, which cornered like a landing craft and got eleven miles to the gallon.”

“Down in the (school) storage room Mr. McLeod came across a stack of maps from back when there were maps in classrooms. He hung them all around our walls…We tried to explain to him that we’d never need to know about these places. Kazakhstan? The Upper Peninsula of Michigan? Please. But then he’d cut out in another direction. Omaha. Omaha Beach. Selma…

…We asked him to read to us…’Well, maybe I could read you a little from my favorite book,’ he said, rubbing his smooth chin…It was about an army officer just back from war in Afghanistan, and looking for a guy to room with. The book was a Sherlock Holmes story. Who knew there were wars in Afghanistan in 1878? Who knew where Afghanistan was? So we were back to geography and history again before we knew it.”

Archer’s family becomes as dear to us as they are to him. Then in fifth grade he gets the best student teacher, and a fourth person becomes a role model for him

An ALA Notable Children’s Book for 2017, I thoroughly enjoyed this story.

[ Wikipedia page for Richard Peck ]

Recommended by Charlotte M.
Bennett Martin Public Library

Have you read this one? What did you think? Did you find this review helpful?

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