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Home Run    by Paul Kropp order for
Home Run
by Paul Kropp
Order:  USA  Can
Doubleday, 2006 (2006)

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* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Home Run made me think of a Canadian version of the hilarious movie, American Pie, perhaps with a theme song entitled Boys Just Want to Get Laid. At least one boy does. It has been narrator Alan Macklin's ambition since he spent his high school senior year trying to have sex, starting with his redheaded girlfriend (and best friend) Maggie (her rejections and dating advice are described in a prequel, Running the Bases).

Now Alan's parents are driving the eighteen-year-old literature student to his dorm at Vancouver's undistinguished Burrard University, while Maggie is on the opposite side of the continent at the prestigious Sarah Lawrence College in New York state. Alan misses her, but understands that they have both moved on. Soon, he meets his roommate, handsome theology student Kirk Chamberlain, whose social ambitions are at the other end of the spectrum from Alan's - Kirk has 'taken the pledge', the abstinence pledge that is, with the fabulous girl he left behind in his Little House on the Prairie home town.

The story continues with Kirk's prayers and Alan's amusing attempts to make it - with Shauna (who has second thoughts), with the glorious older Gloria (who has kids and an angry ex), and with Spring Break lustful Lacey (whose virtuous friend Nicole foils the fun) - and to evade the attentions of Kirk's younger, red hot sister Pug, whose determination to lose her virginity exceed's Alan's. These amusing interludes are interspersed with emails between Alan and Maggie. Surprisingly, given their differences, Alan and Kirk become close friends, but our young hero doesn't make his home run. He turns to poetry instead.

What does Alan learn in his first year of college? He discovers that 'there really are people who are serious about themselves, and what they want, and what they believe in.' And he learns to follow his muse back home again to supportive friends, good advice, a poetry slam, and a runner-up prize that was well worth the wait. Home Run is a funny, engaging read about the angst of adolescence and about navigating the pitfalls of relationships and sexuality.

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