"Almost Like Being in Love: A Novel" by Steve Kluger

Posted on Wed 01 April 2009 in ClubReading

The book is presented as journal entries, newspaper articles, memo's, emails, post-it notes and court records. There is some narrative but it never detracts from the flow of the book. Seeing the characters through their correspondence and journals gives a very personal view of the characters that would be difficult to achieve in a traditional narrative format.

Who's who in Almost Like Being in Love:

Craig McKenna

-- The High school all-star quarterback. Liked by everyone. Popular and attractive. Destined for great things. Craig secretly plays the guitar and enjoys singing but has never told anyone. That's not what football jocks do.

-- Meets Travis when he asks for help on a writing assignment. They quickly become friends and fall in love. Craig and Travis live together the summer after high school before they both head to separate coasts for college.

-- At Harvard Craig tries out for Football but doesn't stand a chance against the bigger guys. Another football jock takes notice of him though. Craig and Clayton fall in love and settle into a 15 year relationship.

-- Craig eventually becomes a lawyer and starts a firm with his college best friend Charleen Webb.

Travis Puckett

-- The school geek. Not an ounce of cool. Travis has a Felix/Oscar relationship with his roommate Gordon. Gordon is a slob. But Gordon and Travis manage to stay friends and end up as house mates in L.A. 20 years later. Travis has a love of the theater and collects hard to find Broadway soundtracks. Smart and obsessive. He absorbs knowledge. Craig teaches Travis about baseball and Travis quickly becomes a baseball encyclopedia.

-- After high school, Travis attends college on the west coast. He 'accidentally' ends up as a history professor at the University of Southern California. He is writing a book called 'Alexander Hamilton and the Designated Hitter'. His love for baseball has not waned. Nor has his love for Craig.

-- Travis realizes the love of his life was Craig and wants to see him again. Wants him in his life again. So begins the search.

Gordon Duboise

-- Travis' roommate in high school. Travis says he's the roommate from hell. The unsanitary part. Gordon knew Travis was gay before he did. Gordon acts as the voice of reason for Travis. Travis documents his conversations with Gordon as The Puckett/Duboise Debates.

-- Gordon becomes a successful screenplay writer and lives with Travis in L.A.

Clayton Bergman

-- Craig's partner. He met Craig in college and they fell in love. Clayton owns a hardware store and does construction. He is independent but insecure, always feels Craig is going to leave him. He doesn't like Craig protesting or causing trouble and doesn't understand why it is important to Craig.

Dr. Louise McKenna

-- Craig's mother. She hates Clayton. She wants son to marry a doctor and is always trying to fix him up. She works in St. Louis as a gynecologist.

-- She refuses to help Travis because he's just a history professor. Not good enough for her son.

It could be said the story is like 'When Harry Met Sally', or in this case 'When Travis Met Craig' but that would greatly diminish this book. It is a story of love and love lost and found again. Years pass and the characters change and grow. It is a charming and heart warming story. Cleverly and humorously told.

This is one of the few books I have ever stayed up half the night to finish.