RIP Richard Peck

This is not the post I planned to run the Friday before Memorial Day.  I was going to run something short and upbeat.  But Thursday morning I learned that Richard Peck had died Wednesday.  Sadly, I can’t let that pass without comment.

Unlike some of my fellow writers, I didn’t know Peck’s work when I was his target audience.  And that’s a shame because I would have loved it even then.  His quirky characters have always reminded me a lot of Twain.  As a writer, I have always loved his work which I discovered early in my career.

A big part of it is that his work is hard to pigeon-hole. Platform?  I’m  not sure I’ve heard him say the word unless it was associated with railway.

Yes, he wrote historic fiction set in small town Illinois.  But his most recent book, Best Man, was a contemporary middle grade novel that explored issues of sexuality and self-identity.  It is still quirky and laugh-out-loud hilarious even while it explores issues that have polarized our society.  I love him for that.

I’ve read more of his work than I actually own and may have to rectify that.  But until I get my next check, I’ll satisfy myself with a trip to the library.  I’ll start with The Ghost Belonged to Me which a friend, a teacher, just recommended.

Time to get re-acquainted.