The Wednesday Wars
By Gary D. Schmidt
(Sandpiper Books – 2007)
It is a pretty good trick to write a funny book.
It is just as hard of a feat to write an important book.
And writing a book that is just the right style to fit on both a grown-up’s bookshelf and a child’s bookshelf is hard to beat.
The Wednesday Wars is a freaking hat trick. The book will suit both grown-ups and teenagers alike. It is laugh-out-loud funny and yet as serious as a heart attack – and at least one point of the book I wanted to stand up and cheer – but they probably would have thrown me out of the coffee shop I was reading in.
The Wednesday Wars is set in 1967. We’re talkingViet Nam, Kennedy, Martin Luther King, marching onWashingtonand the threat of nuclear warfare. At the same time we manage to cover the works of Shakespeare, naked bigotry, cross-country running, baseball, man against rat hand-to-hand combat and teenage runaways. The book is multi-levelled and complex and absolutely wonderful.
The protagonist, Holling Hoodhood, is a 7th grade student with a serious problem. His teacher hates him.
Wait a minute. That isn’t right.
His teacher freaking HATES him.
You don’t believe me, ask Holling Hoodhood.
Of all the kids in the seventh grade at Camillo Junior High, there was one kid that Mrs. Baker hated with a heat whiter than the sun.
That’s the opening sentence.
I’m not going to quote any more. If you want to read any more quotes go and buy the book.
Don’t make me come after you and read Shakespeare in your ear.
The book will take the reader on a journey through a school year and a series of self-discovering life-altering events. It is poignant and powerful, complex and complete. The Wednesday Wars is the real deal and the total package. It hit all my buttons and I yelled Geronimo and jumped right in.
You want to know what this book is about?
I can sum it’s theme up in a few short words.
Borrowed from Polonius.
“Too thine own self be true.”
I warned you about that Shakespeare.
This book is a winner.
Yours in storytelling,