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The Last Days of Summer [Paperback]

Steve Kluger
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)

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Book Description

April 1999
Through letters, notes, report cards, matchbook covers, and telegrams, a novel set in the 1940s follows the sometimes underhanded efforts of Joey Margolis, a fatherless twelve year old, to persuade New York Giants third baseman Charlie Banks to be his role model. Reprint.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial; Reprint edition (April 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0380797631
  • ISBN-13: 978-0380797639
  • Product Dimensions: 20.5 x 13.5 x 2.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,769,630 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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4.9 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By Benjamin TOP 500 REVIEWER
Joey, a twelve year old Jewish boy is beaten up for (falsely) claiming to be the friend of famous baseball player Charles Banks, so in attempt to prove his case he writes a pleading letter to the baseball player, and not just one. What follows is a correspondence in which Joey adds lie upon lie, and in which Charles repeatedly tells him where to get off. But gradually the tone of the communications changes, and what develops is a close and charming relationship.

The story is told entirely through the letters between Joey and Charles, along with other letters from Joey's best friend and a others, transcripts of interviews between Joey and his doctor, and clips from newspapers and other printed ephemera.

I put off reading this book for some time for the page presentation is a bit brash, and I must admit when I did start reading it I found it a little dispassionate, but not for long. Very soon one warms to Joey, a loud-mouth? possibly; precocious? definitely; resourceful and inventive? most certainly; but behind it all is a heart of gold. This is born out by the effect he has on the young baseball player, gradually bringing his otherwise hidden good heartedness and turning Charles into the father Joey lacked, and a true hero.

The Last Days of Summer is a remarkable book, sentimental and moving, extremely funny and yet heartbreaking, once I got going with I could not put it down and read it in just one sitting. A most original book, and one of the funniest I have read in a long time.
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By A Customer
Trying to write an essay for school, "If My Father Were President," 12-year-old Joey Margolis considers beginning "If my father were president he would be too busy to take me places but guess what? He doesn't anyway. Ha ha."
Laughing around the ache left by his absent dad is one of the many ways Joey deals with his loneliness. Joey also seeks surrogate heroes by writing fan letters to politicians, celebrities and famous athletes ... and eventually stumbles upon NY Giants 3rd Baseman Charlie Banks. Joey tries to persuade him to hit a home run for him (and tell everyone on the radio that it's for "My best friend Joey Margolis") by inventing a different pathetic scenario with every fan letter he writes:
I am a 12-year-old boy and I am blind ...
I am a 12-year-old boy and I am dying of an incurable disease. A horrible one...
I am a 12-year-old boy and I have just enlisted as a drummer in the marine corpse...
Eventually the 24-year-old ballplayer and the rambunctious kid lock horns, leading them through a maze of encounters that finds Charlie at Joey's Bar-Mitzvah, finds Joey on the road as Batboy with Charlie's team, and finds the both of them embroiled in a relationship so delightful to read I finished the book in one day.
The prose, in the form of letters, report cards, telegrams, etc. gives you an authentic slice of life in pre-WWII Brooklyn, while causing you to laugh with the turning of each page... and to cry when you least expect it.
If you've ever been a child in need of hero, you won't just read this book ... you'll fall in love with it.
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By A Customer
I haven't been as moved by a book since I read To Kill a Mockingbird about a thousand years ago, and that turned out to be my second favorite book of all time. Yes, this book is funny, very funny, and yes the characters jump off of the page as you read their letters, but all this just serves to disarm you and make you aware of just how fragile you are as a human being. Steve Kluger has done an amazing job with this book. I write funny novels for a living, and I'd be proud to have my name on this book. (Well, in fact, I put my name on a couple of copies before the clerk at the book store stopped me and took away my Magic Marker.)Buy this book. Buy many copies. Your friends and relatives need this book too. Especially that grumpy aunt of yours.
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5.0 out of 5 stars This book belongs in Cooperstown! 20 July 1999
By A Customer
I love this book: ok, how to be descriptive and keep away from cliches and convey to you how much you will love this book? Can't do it. Truly, and cross my heart, I started it last night and was up to 2:30 am to finish it. I laughed, I cried. I was in New York with Charlie and Joey, and on the road trip too. If you miss or are nostalgic for baseball when it was more fun than business, if you have a spot in your heart for American history in the late 30s-early 40s, (movies, too!) get this book! If you enjoyed Pete Hamill's Snow in August, you'll like this. Kluger knows what goes on in the hearts of boys and tough guys, and he has the skill to make you feel it. This is a gift you should give yourself.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Just TOO Cute!!!!!!! 6 Jan 1999
By A Customer
OK. The book has some nice things going for it. The mix of letters, report cards, newspaper articles, etc. is clever. And it started out with an interesting premise. But the precocious main character Joey became more and more unbearable with each page. He became a stereotyped "loveable little scamp" of WWII vintage who hobnobs with stars of stage, screen and ballpark, personally corresponds with the White House, dances with Eleanor Roosevelt, etc. etc. ad nauseam. If he had built a space ship with scrap auto parts and flown it to the moon it would have fit right in. The ending is so predictable it's pathetic.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Last Days of Summer by Steve Kluger
I read Changing Pitches years ago and enjoyed the quirky style, so I was intrigued to try this book. A fabulous read! Read more
Published 2 months ago by mark noel
5.0 out of 5 stars Last Days of Summer
Steve Kluger is definitely one talented writer. Another book I could not put down. His characters are so real I had to double check cause I thought I was reading his real life... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Deeze
5.0 out of 5 stars A MUST READ
This book kept my cheeks wets with tears of laughter and tears of emotions. I haven't laughed out load so much in years. Read more
Published on 30 Aug 1999
5.0 out of 5 stars An Amazing Story
This book is so well written, and I loved it so much that I finished it in a matter of one or two days. It made me laugh out loud, warmed my heart, and also made me cry. Read more
Published on 29 July 1999
5.0 out of 5 stars Enthralling!
Great book for adults and kids alike. If you like baseball and history, read it. If you like good novels, read it.
Published on 20 July 1999
5.0 out of 5 stars it!
I laughed and cried, just like everyone else...and you will too. Even thought I predicted the ending, as I'm sure everyone else did, it did not detract from this wonderfully... Read more
Published on 5 July 1999
5.0 out of 5 stars A funny, heartwarming story of a boy and his hero
This is the best book I've read in a long time. I loved Joey and his devious ways and Charlie was wonderful. Laughter through tears--what a beautiful emotion. Read more
Published on 2 July 1999
5.0 out of 5 stars An exhausting and exhilarating roller coaster ride's outrageous.'s an exercise in excess.'s a stretch in every sense of the word. All that said... Read more
Published on 22 Jun 1999
5.0 out of 5 stars Extrodinarily Creative, Hilarious and Uplifting
This book was the best book I've read all year (and I've read a bunch)! The presentation was creative, the humor and wit is outstanding, and the story was heart-warming. Read more
Published on 27 May 1999
5.0 out of 5 stars Sports+relationships+humor+tears = excellent reading for all
After 45 seconds of glancing through this book (and laughing out loud), I was sold! Although I mentally edited most of the color metaphors, this relationship-based book is the... Read more
Published on 7 May 1999
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