[Book Review] Almost Like Being in Love by Steve Kluger

Almost Like Being in LoveAlmost Like Being in Love by Steve Kluger

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I have feelings again ♥

Almost Like Being in Love is a light read yet it says so much. Even if the book is written in epistolary format–in the form of diary entries, memos, documents, post-it notes–the characters are still well-developed, flaws and all. You can do complete character studies with Travis and his obsessive compulsive behavior, Craig and his need to be with someone, Clayton and his possessive nature (nurtured?), and so on.

At its core, this book is about love–on how Travis and Craig found themselves falling in love for the first time at 18, and then 20 years later, as they come to realizations about life, love and themselves.

Despite the fact that this book is a short read, there are parts that are meta. Gordo, Travis’ roommate since high school, writes letters to his father-slash-his publisher concerning his scripts. And yes, it’s not a surprise that his stories are taken directly from real life–in this case, Travis’ story/journey to find his first love. There’s a part in the exchange where Gordo’s father/publisher writes that there are 39,000 people waiting for a happy ending for Travis, so he better give the couple one. That part struck out because–well, it’s true, isn’t it? It’s what the readers are thinking at that point in the book, it’s probably what Steve Kluger’s editor told him at that point. The fact that it was included in the book was just awesome.

I am definitely going to read this again after I watch Brigadoon (surely a video exists somewhere?). The play is mentioned and referenced several times–with the title of the book a song from the musical, and as the play itself is the backdrop of the lead character’s love story. I think the whole book itself would be more enriching if I had a background on Brigadoon prior to reading it–I definitely did get the sense that this was an homage, or was at least very heavily influenced/written around Brigadoon.

But seriously. I’m past the stage where I like reading books about falling in love because it’s always so trite, so ‘I don’t think I’m attractive but I am actually smoking hot and smart and great at my career and here’s my hot prince charming who is rich, smart and is a bigshot’ [that’s 99.9% of all chic-flick books out there] and also because Theology 131 killed all my elementary and high school notions of love (these notions are also synonymous to chic lit and Nicholas Sparks’ portrayal of love), but this book made me have feelings again. It made me believe in the modern Disney version of love again, if only for a little while. It’s in the way it was written–unassuming, even when Craig realized he was in love for the first time; even when Gordo was pointing out that Travis and Craig were essentially going out to Travis; how love just flowed so naturally from a close friendship; the journey, the chase, the quest–it wasn’t overdone or cheesy; and how Travis stayed true to himself, despite the fact that it would cost him what he wanted.

It’s a book about love without being over-the-top dramatic or romantic, it’s a relatable coming-of-age story/relationship, the characters are human, the dialogue is funny/witty. It’s a great read.

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