By Awnali Mills
There is a reason that Richard Peck has won so many awards for his elementary school books. The Best Man is a prime example of this.
Archer Magill is always on the lookout for a good role model to help him make sense of the world. His favorites are his architect grandfather, his car-restoration expert father, and his hip Uncle Paul, who is a publicity manager for Wrigley Field. Archer’s best friend (although he would never in a million years admit it) is Lynette Stanley, classmate and friend of the family. Archer and Lynette soldier through elementary school together; Lynette smart and on top of everything, Archer smart-alecky and a bit clueless.
Things change when Mr. McLeod, a student teacher, literally brings the world into their classroom. Suddenly, Archer’s entire class is learning, engaged, and loving it. Mr. McLeod is prime role model material—even when he comes out to the world.
I just loved Archer’s wry cluelessness. Lynette and Archer are terribly funny, and reminded me of Hermione and Ron from Harry Potter. The Best Man offers a loving framework for the acceptance of homosexuality. It’s frank without being detailed, and doesn’t offer judgments about lifestyle choices, only towards those who would torment others.
I would recommend this book for lovers of humorous stories (the first wedding scene is just too funny!).