Second up in the "jumpstart on January" What Should Kester Read? queue is Martin Millar's Suzy, Led Zeppelin, and Me. Knowing nothing about the book or the author, my going in expectations were as close to neutral as you can get. My feelings coming out were anything but.
I want to be careful how I word this, because I don't want to seem to damn this book with faint praise. The fact is, I loved this book. As coming of age stories go, this and Blankets are the two best I've read this year. But what's great about this book is that Millar isn't going for anything spectacular; by not attempting to do anything particularly literary, Millar succeeds in doing something really great.
Too many "classic" fictional memories of adolescence lean heavy on angst and less on heart. You get the sense that any serious tale of high school remembrance requires a main character who might commit suicide or murder his classmates at any second. But most of us don't remember high school that way. We remember feeling strongly about almost everything, particularly music and the opposite sex, but in more of a confused and fuzzy stomached way and less with the angsty and angry. We remember high school the way Millar's narrator does, so that, even though the events take place in Glasgow in 1972, they feel as familiar to me as Chicago in 1993. For me it was Nirvana and not Zeppelin and the girl's name was Kelli and not Suzy, but the story is the same. It's sweet and sad and just a bit (but never overly) sentimental, just the way growing up was. It's lovely, and I loved it, and I think that you will too.