Sunday, August 26, 2007
The Wednesday Wars by Gary D. Schmidt
Yesterday I was supposed to be reading Maximum Ride and writing Battle of the Books questions for it. Instead I found myself at the bookstore, no longer able to resist the urge to buy The Wednesday Wars. Now I admit that I was quite nervous about reading this book. I had read so many wonderful reviews of it and I was afraid that it wouldn’t meet my expectations of it. Well it did, and it exceeded them.
Holling Hoodhood knows that his 7th grade teacher hates him. After all, as the only Protestant in his class, he’s the only person left there on Wednesday afternoons when half of the class goes to Hebrew school, and the other half goes to Catechism. Mrs. Bates’ free Wednesday afternoons are ruined, just because Holling is a Presbyterian. After a month of doing chores such as beating out the chalkboard erasers, Mrs. Bates decides that Holling would benefit from learning great literature so she decides that he’ll read Shakespeare. Holling thinks she’s trying to bore him to death, but, much to his great surprise, he finds that he likes the plays she assigns.
There is much more to this book than Holling learning Shakespeare. There are many, many laugh-out-loud moments. There are many serious moments. The story takes place in 1967 and the Vietnam War intrudes on the lives of several characters. There are characters to love, and at least one character to hate (I wanted to reach through the pages of the book and strangle Holling’s father). Everything about this book is good. I will be a mighty sad person if it doesn’t win something in January.