The Best Man
By Richard Peck
240 pages – ages 9+
Published by Dial Books on September 20, 2016
Synopsis from Publisher- “Archer Magill has spent a lively five years of grade school with one eye out in search of grown-up role models. Three of the best are his grandpa, the great architect; his dad, the great vintage car customizer,; and his uncle Paul, who is just plain great. These are the three he wants to be. Along the way he finds a fourth—Mr. McLeod, a teacher. In fact, the first male teacher in the history of the school.
But now here comes middle school and puberty. Change. Archer wonders how much change has to happen before his voice does. He doesn’t see too far ahead, so every day or so a startling revelation breaks over him. Then a really big one when he’s the best man at the wedding of two of his role models. But that gets ahead of the story.”
What I Thought- This was an interesting and very complex story. It is interesting that the subject of gay marriage is seen from a more innocent view-type, instead of jaded – one way or the other. It is complex because it really isn’t a story about gay marriage, it is a coming of age story of a boy trying to define himself – as all kids do as they hit puberty. It is a story about family relationships, bullies at school and dealing with siblings. I liked it that the marriage wasn’t used as a tool but rather shown as a part of life. It is a reflection of the world we live in. There were a ton of supporting characters, all which brought an interesting angle to the story. Although there was a lot going on (in terms of characters), the story was easy to follow, as if the reader is just another character in the story. The one thing I didn’t like really, though was just the obliviousness of Archer – that just seemed a tad unrealistic for a fifth grader. This isn’t the action/adventure story that usually has me turning pages at a furious pace. It is a heartwarming look into a family that connects the reader with the characters and one that you can get lost in.
I give this book five out of five bookworms.