Almost Like Being in Love
Travis and Craig found each other in high school, but went to different colleges. Like so many of us with close, close friends and lovers, they promised to stay in touch, only to have life and lack of proximity separate them.
No, that’s not the plot, but the prelude to the wonderful story Kluger unfolds through lists and diary pages and other unconventional methods of letting a tale unfold like the petals of a flower.
Twenty years after college, neither man thinks his life is bad. In fact, university history instructor Travis is so caught up in the academic lifestyle he’s honed for himself that he surprises his friends and colleagues, not to mention himself, when he stops to take stock and realizes that what his life is missing is Craig.
Finding Craig with whom he’s totally lost touch, however, isn’t easy. The private, shy Travis knows he will have to step into the abyss of America and probably have to wallow in embarrassment and wrong turns to locate the love of his life.
Craig, however, who is in a serious relationship that’s about to turn into marriage, isn’t really looking past his current boyfriend. He doesn’t know why he’s reluctant about marriage, but when he gets the first inkling that someone from his past is searching for him, he hopes it will be Travis.
Kluger takes readers on a walk down a path that loops around, back to the road not taken, the road that should have been taken. Readers who’ve had a pivotal moment in their lives, boldly gone one way and later wondered what would have happened had they gone the other route will deeply enjoy this book.
Travis, for all his neuroses and twitches, lends an air of manic fun to the story, sometimes in laugh-out-loud scenes that readers will want to share with those around them. He’s never sure he’s doing the right thing in trying to find Craig, but he’s determined. He’s smart, inventive, and sincere, all the attributes that make up a wonderful friend.
Craig, on the other hand, for all his personal success, is a drifter. He’s drifted into his career, drifted into his present relationship, and is drifting through his adult years. He’s not unhappy, but not terribly happy either. He’s the friend readers will want to give a strongly worded wake-up call because they and Craig know there’s more out there for him, a life of giddy happiness.
In some circles, this book is considered a gay classic and rightly so. It’s the quintessential what-if fairytale, the daydream that makes up the ultimate satisfying romance.