I had never read a Richard Peck book before I read The Best Man. I am not quite sure why I hadn’t, after all I have many of his books in our classroom library. When I received this book as an ARC from the generous people at Penguin, I jumped right and then finished it in one gulp. The writing is whimsical, relatable, and it pulls you right along the story. I loved the voice of the narrator, how he offers up glimpses of story that will happen later and how you are not quite sure what the whole story is about until it is done. I am excited to place this book in the hands of my 7th graders, as well as book talk it to others. It definitely deserves to be read and will be loved by many. Just as a great book should be.
When Archer is in sixth grade, his beloved uncle Paul marries another man—Archer’s favorite student teacher. But that’s getting ahead of the story, and a wonderful story it is. In Archer’s sweetly naïve but observant voice, his life through elementary school is recounted: the outspoken, ever-loyal friends he makes, the teachers who blunder or inspire, and the family members who serve as his role models. From one exhilarating, unexpected episode to another, Archer’s story rolls along as he puzzles over the people in his life and the kind of person he wants to become…and manages to help his uncle become his best self as well.