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Last Days of Summer

4.43 of 5 stars 4.43  ·  rating details  ·  2,957 ratings  ·  607 reviews
The hilarious and heart–warming story about a down–and–out kid who finds inspiration in his favourite baseball hero.

In Brooklyn, 1940, a wisecracking, baseball loving twelve–year–old boy, Joey Margolis, is in desperate need of a hero. His rich father has recently divorced his mother, leaving her all but penniless, and she is forced to move herself and her son to an Italian
Paperback, 368 pages
Published May 24th 2005 by Avon (first published 1998)
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Moneyball by Michael LewisBall Four by Jim BoutonThe Boys of Summer by Roger KahnShoeless Joe by W.P. KinsellaThe Natural by Bernard Malamud
Best Baseball Books
38th out of 449 books — 489 voters
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann ShafferThe Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen ChboskyBridget Jones's Diary by Helen FieldingDracula by Bram StokerThe Color Purple by Alice Walker
Epistolary Fiction
66th out of 372 books — 483 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Oh man.

I laughed, a lot. Then at the end I cried. Seriously. A lot of books SAY that they’ll make you laugh and cry, but the books that have made me laugh out loud I could count on one hand… and I can only think of one other book that made me cry. The Catalpa Tree by Denyse Devlin (incredible book, by the way).

It's an epistolary novel, written through letters, telegrams, transcripts of sessions with his therapist, newspaper articles, etc. A story of a Jewish kid in Brooklyn during WWII - Joey Ma
I’ve been staying over at my Mom’s this week, helping her to clear out the basement and the garage in preparation for her upcoming move. Last night, as I was laying in my childhood bedroom perusing the bookshelves, I suddenly realized that my God, I've never reviewed Last Days of Summer.

Which is a disaster, my friends, because Last Days of Summer is my LIFE.

To say I love this book with all my heart and soul is really not an adequate enough description.

I am in a relationship with this book.

I re
I just stumbled on this in the library, and saw it's in a unique form (letters and such), which I'm loving lately. I just learned this is called an "epistolary novel" and stealing from a review below, I know why I am so drawn to this format. "...are hard to pull off. By ditching conventional plot structure, the writer focuses all the attention on his characters." As I've said before, I'll pick good characters over a good plot if I have to choose. So I guess when the focus is totally on that, I g ...more
Wendy F
"Brother, If you can't feel it, I can't explain it."

Heidi! That was so beautiful! I absolutely LOVED this book! Thank you so much for sharing, because otherwise I would never have stumbled across it or picked it up. I'm grateful! :)

To all my other Goodreads friends, this is a MUST READ book. (And for those in YA-MA, it is a GREAT pick for the season challenge, hint hint!)

It's 1940 and Joey is a 12 years old Jewish boy living in Brooklyn after his parents divorce. Joey's had a rough start in
Epistolary novels are hard to pull off. By ditching conventional plot structure, the writer focuses all the attention on his characters. If the writer doesn't get the voices just right, readers lose interest in the story being told.

Luckily, Kluger is dead solid perfect in The Last Days of Summer. Whether we're hearing precocious 12 year-old Joey Margolis or irascible New York Giants third baseman Charlie Banks or even any of the myriad other voices we're a party to, it just sounds right, and con
Heidi (Yup. Still here.)
4.5 stars. Loved this book! Despite the entire book being comprised of letters and newspaper clippings, once I got to know all the main characters it was really easy to follow. What a great story about a young man who befriends a pro baseball player by basically being saucy towards him. I loved the humor and was really rooting for the two main characters. Highly recommend.

03/2015 - changed star rating from 4 to 5 because I still love this book 5 years later!
Wow, Heidi! What a gem of a book! I really loved it. I was snorting out loud at parts, giggling like a fiend, and then of course, here come the tears.

I'm so glad I trusted you to pick a book that you knew we'd love! Thanks, my friend! I'm getting a kick reading everyone's postcards too! What a fun "around the world" book!!
Mimi Smith
5 stars

Loved it. Maybe I'll be able to write a review after I stop crying. Maybe
Such a beautiful and touching story...
I love a good book sale. I love to chat with other readers and find gems among the fodder at the suggestion of strangers. That's how I found Last Days of Summer by Steve Kluger. I would never have chosen this book--sports stories usually aren't my thing--but I was standing in line waiting to pay for my two-foot stack at the library's $1 book sale this spring when the woman wearing purple scrubs in front of me picked it up from a table, asked me if I'd read it, and told me it was one of her favor ...more
❂ Jennifer (reviews on BookLikes)
This book is a brilliant example of epistolary novel writing - definitely the best example I've ever read myself. Sublimely funny, poignant and timeless. If you like baseball at all, and enjoy reading about the 1940's era, this book about growing up in NYC is a must read. Serious, keep-on-the bookshelf-forever-and-force-others-to-read-it brilliant.

Full review:
Lady Ozma
Dec 12, 2007 Lady Ozma rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Fiction lovers, baseball fans, history (more current) fans
Shelves: 2007
The Last Days fo Summer by Steve Kluger is not the sort of book I would normally pick up and buy to read. You can probably fill my knowledge of baseball on the page under the title. However, a good friend recommended this to me and even went as far as to get me a copy.

I could not put the book down. It was excellent and captured my mind and my heart as I followed through roughly two years in the characters lives.

Seldom do characters come so alive as they do in this book. I found myself laughing a
An epistolary novel about a 12-year-old Jewish kid from Brooklyn who becomes best friends with a star baseball player in the early 1940s. This is utter pap, but…well, okay, I’m embarrassed to admit that I quite liked it. Joey is one of those impossibly clever and erudite 12-year-olds, and the premise is ridiculous—not just the becoming-best-friends-with-a-ballplayer part, but the fact that Joey and Charlie, the New York Giants’ 3rd baseman, also go on to meet President Roosevelt, Humphrey Bogart ...more
Oh, boy. Large parts of the book were so funny and gut-warming, I could quote every second page. But in the end my eyes burned from held-back tears. So, so sad. It is a war-time story, I KNOW, but, Mr. Kluger, couldn't you just let him survive to humor me?

Oct. 18th: I've just re-read the last 40 pages and got wet eyes again. How can a book be so hilarious and so tragic at the same time? I just love Steve Kluger's style.
There are so many things about this book that should have made me want to lash it to a pole and whip it good. The story is kitschy, predictable. The characters all sound similar, and it's got the kind of humor and writing style that I thought I outgrew with Meg Cabot and her Boy series (Where coincidentally, all the characters sound the same too).

And then I said "Just five minutes, asshole, and I'm going to work on my portfolio," to this book and ended up sitting there for four hours to polish o
I have no idea how I stumbled across this book, but it turned up in my library reserve somehow so I figured I'd give it a shot. Turns out it's written entirely in letters. Yes, yes, I know all books are written with letters - 'badabadabada biiiing.' But seriously, this book is written using letters (correspondence) between the various characters. The format makes for a quick and interesting read.

Jewish boy in Brooklyn writes letters. Befriends baseball star. Baseball star ships off to world war
Brother, if you can't feel it, I can't explain it.

This is a novel of letters, newspaper clippings, report cards. Joey immediately reminded me of JR from the novel of the same name by William Gaddis, but only if he were cranked up to 11. He's got imagination and gumption and he's not about to let the little things like age and truth get in his way. Thus begins a friendship with Charlie Banks, 3d baseman with the NY Giants. They are perfect for each other, giving it to each other right back and fo
Penny Watson
Quickie Review: Last Days Of Summer by Steve Kluger....

Once again, Steve has put together a brilliant....let me repeat that--brilliant--story. The clever construction of the narrative--letters, announcements, newspaper clippings, etc--conveys a humorous, but also emotionally wrenching tale. It combines hilarious Jewish humor, baseball, and one of the most heart-breaking storylines I've ever read. In fact, I had a problem with the ending. I realize that the HEA-rule only applies to romance novels
Wow, I loved this book. Joey Margolis, a pre-teenager in Brooklyn in 1940 with a boatload of chutzpah befriends the star third-baseman of the New York Giants, among other amazing things. Joey is dealt a crappy hand to play in part by his schmuck of a father, but leads an amazing life anyway.

There are a half-dozen movies about baseball that always make me well up in tears, and now there's one baseball book that does the same thing. Maybe it's because they're not really about baseball. I would rec
I was totally blindsided by this book. The main characters are a 12-year-old boy and a professional baseball player, so I did not expect to connect to them as much as I did. Also, the story is written entirely in letters, notes, ticket stubs, interview dialogue, and newspaper clippings with VERY brief expository prose at the beginning and the end. I had no idea this format could pull me in like it did. The characters were extremely real to me, and I was VERY emotionally invested. WOW. This is a ...more
I have been in a reading slump for quite awhile now. It's been two or three months since I last read a book, which is so unlike me, but for whatever reason I could not get into anything. I picked up half a dozen books, read the first few pages, and fell asleep. Literally every time. I was starting to get worried because I've always been a book worm. What else would I do with my time?!

So anyway, I attempted this book because it's been sitting on my shelf for awhile and I figured if nothing else
This book you guys. Ohmygod this book. A author I follow on FB recced it earlier this week as a favorite of hers and curious, I decided to give it a try even though it was something I wouldn't necessarily pick up on my own. AND I'M SO GLAD I DID BECAUSE THIS BOOK IS AMAZING. Set in Brooklyn in 1940 it follows the story of 12 yr old Joey, one of those kids who is always getting into scraps who decides to write to his idol, 22 yr old 3rd baseman for the NY Giants, Charlie Banks in a effort to make ...more
Oct 11, 2014 Jason rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2014
Definitely one of my top 5 books. There's huge ass tear stains all over my pillow. I was sobbing. The last time I cried like this over a book was never. I mean, even in the Fault in Out Stars, my eyes leaked a bit. But this time it was snot and tears and the usual ugly crying. I'm not a crier. It takes a lot for me to cry, so this just proves what an excellent book this was. I've been putting it off because of the WWII theme, but it was really really good.
Ebee Lally
One of my favorite books ever! There will be tears......of joy, laughter and sorrow.
Rachel McMillan
reading through again. From my blog review a few years ago:

“Everyone has something worth it inside of them even if it doesn’t show. Sometimes you have to look a little harder than other times, but don’t give up. Otherwise, all your going to see is a sorehead who plays 3d base”

It’s been a long time since I was moved by a book the way I was by Last Days of Summer and now I am afraid that what I read for the next while will fall tasteless and flat due to this experience.

My frie
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I loved the first book I read by Steve Kluger, Almost Like Being in Love, and yet Last Days of Summer still managed to surprise me. I don't think I expected to be caught up in the story or the characters in the same way. I was wrong.

Kluger takes us to Brooklyn, New York in 1940 to tell us Joey Margolis' story. He is a 12 year old Jewish boy who having recently moved from Manhattan with his mother and aunt becomes the neighborhood bullies' punching bag. Lacking a father figure in his life, Joey i
Jon Sindell
Dec 20, 2014 Jon Sindell rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: baseball fans, history buffs
Steve Kluger’s ear for dialogue is the source of this book’s chief charm. The dialogue, the fake Walter Winchell columns, the fictitious newspaper accounts of ballgames ring true. In addition, the book’s survey of the cultural history of the World War II era made the reading experience pleasantly akin to leafing through an old copy of Life.

Unfortunately, the book as a whole feels like a particularly belabored Afterschool Special. The clichéd characters are cardboard cutouts, the situations and p
I wondered if The Last Days of Summer would hold up to a second reading. As I wipe away the tears I realize it has. For me this is book is an old friend I will revisit every few years.

The Last Days of Summer is written in epistolary style and could be a quick read on the surface but it's one to savor.

Joey Margolis is a 12 year old growing up in Brooklyn in the 40's. He's trying to figure out how to navigate the recent changes in his life and has an incredible imagination only surpassed by his
Frankly, I was skeptical when I picked this up but went in with high hopes given positive reviews. At a glance through the pages, I wasn't sure I wanted to jump in. I felt like a series of letters and news clippings was going to take away from a cohesive narrative, and I wasn't sure about a story of a kid writing to a baseball player... Really-- where could it possibly go?

Within just a couple of pages, I was hooked. The characters are real and compelling. It was laugh out loud funny (I got look
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Steve Kluger is an author and playwright, born in Baltimore, Maryland, in 1952, who grew up with only two heroes: Tom Seaver and Ethel Merman. Few were able to grasp the concept. A veteran of "Casablanca" and a graduate of "The Graduate," he has written extensively on subjects as far ranging as World War II, rock and roll, and the Titanic, and as close to the heart as baseball and the Boston Red S ...more
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Alexander Hamilton Junior High School

STUDENT: Joseph Margolis
TEACHER: Janet Hicks


Teacher's Comments:
Joseph remains a challenging student. While I appreciate his creativity, I am sure you will agree that a classroom is an inappropriate forum for a reckless imagination. There is not a shred of evidence to support his claim that Dolley Madison was a Lesbian, and even fewer grounds to explain why he even knows what the word means. Similarly, an analysis of the Constitutional Convention does not generate sufficient cause to initiate a two-hour classroom debate on what types of automobiles the Founding Fathers would have driven were they alive today. When asked on a subsequent examination, "What did Benjamin Franklin use to discover electricity?" eleven children responded "A Packard convertible". I trust you see my problem.
Janet Hicks

Parent's Comments:
As usual I am very proud of Joey's grades. I too was unaware that Dolley Madison was a Lesbian. I assumed they were all Protestants.
Thank you for writing.
Ida Margolis”
“The only thing I know about Moses is him coming down from the mountain with the commandments and saying 'The good news is I got him down to 10. The bad news is adultery is still in.” 8 likes
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