Parents' Guide to

The Best Man

By Mary Cosola, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 9+

Witty, sweet story of boy figuring out school, family, love.

The Best Man Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

Community Reviews

age 11+

Based on 6 parent reviews

age 12+

Best Man

I fell in love with the main character and all of his amazing role models that guide him through adolescence. The book may touch on the fact that his uncle is gay but is not a main focus in the book so I completely disagree with the other reviewers point of view. What is important is that the main character is accepting and loves others for who they are, regardless of sexual orientation. It's not a book that preaches and some kids may not even pick up on that at all. It's a wonderfully written, carefree, great read.

This title has:

Great messages
Great role models
1 person found this helpful.
age 12+

Very liberal, shocking bullying

I’ve read a lot of Richard Peck over the years, and this book was the first to disappoint. First of all, unless you’re very liberal leaning about gay marriage, you won’t like this book. It may just be a side part of the story, but if you are adamant that marriage should follow God’s plan of one man and one woman you won’t want your kid to read this. It definitely feels like a LGBTQ aimed book to indoctrinate kids that gay marriage is fine because it’s all about “love”. If that’s what you’re looking for, you’ll probably like it. More disturbing was the portrayal of school bullying. Is that really what schools are like now?? With kids getting tied up in the bathroom??? Oh dear. The adults at the school were incompetent, which is usual in a kids’ book to make it seem like a “kid’s world,” but given the shocking (to me) abuse of the bullies, I was really disturbed. Not for me. Not for my kids. I advise prereading.

This title has:

Too much violence

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say: (6 ):
Kids say: Not yet rated

Archer Magill is a funny, sweet narrator who hilariously conveys how confusing life can be for kids. The Best Man deftly deals with important topics such as loss of a loved one, bullying, and same-sex marriage without being heavy-handed. This humorous, light touch will resonate with kids for this reason, and it will appeal to parents who can discuss these topics with their kids. Some of the situations that crop up in the book are over the top, and some of the side characters fall into clichés -- for example, the thuggish bully, the prissy know-it-all, and the bumbling teacher. Fortunately, all the main characters are well-developed, interesting, and engaging.

Archer's journey from first grade through sixth and the situations he encounters are fun to follow. He goes from not understanding what's going on around him to eventually keying in on conversations and social nuances. It is nice to see a book show this aspect of maturing into a young adult. Much of the book centers on Archer's relationships with his male role models. They all bring something different to his life and help him grow into a good young man. The story is funny, poignant, and heartwarming. It'll give younger readers a lot to think about while also entertaining them.

Book Details

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