Synopsis: My Most Excellent Year is the story of three friends (or soon to be friends at least) and their first year of high school. T.C. Keller, Augie and Alé, all have things to learn about who they are and where they fit in the world.
My Thoughts: I really enjoyed this book. It is so far removed from reality as one can get without being a fairytale that the implausible events and people and connections become part of the joy in reading it.
The characters were a incredibly likeable if slightly unbelievable. There was something sweet and innocent about all the characters, children and adults alike. Even if the parents were not exactly believable (and my own parents fall on the accepting and cool side of the scale) one still feels a connection to them and their children.
I think what really drew me into the book was the narrative style. The book is told in the form of diary entries as part of a school project the three main characters have. In addition to this there is a series of letters, IM conversations and e-mails. This meant that you got a different perspective on many of the events. And to tell the truth the letters between the adults were often hysterically funny, and showed that adults don’t always have their stuff together either (as an adult I find this to be very reassuring). The diary entries also very clearly shows how the characters grow throughout the year covered in the book. One of the characters even changes who the diary is written two as she realises some truths about herself and others.
On the point of the parents, not only was it reassuring to see that they didn’t have their stuff together but also that they were involved in their children’s lives, if I may drag out my dry, dusty, academic side here, there is a theory in children’s lit criticism that the adults in children’s books have to be distant and uninvolved in order for adventure and growth to take place. I didn’t feel that this was the case in these books. Yes one character had parents who were so far removed from her and her reality that they might as well have been on Mars, but the other two characters had parents who saw and understood more than what their kids gave them credit for. I think this is very refreshing!
Although this book deals with GLBT issues, it didn’t go into the conflicting emotions that The Bermudez Triangle covered, rather it presented a view that could be seen as a wish for the future. No one takes the coming out of one of the main characters in a negative way, rather it is presented as him being the last to know and others already having figured it out. And everyone sees it in a positive light. I wish this was always the case, but I can’t help but to compare it to a reality that isn’t always so excepting.
Overall this book often had me in absolute stitches (I would love to share some of them, but they all seem to reveal major plot points and I wouldn’t take that away from new readers). Although I wasn’t the intended audience I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this book to anyone who remembers what it is like being a teenager or even someone trying to figure out how to make the next move.