Thursday, March 13, 2008
The Wednesday Wars, by Gary D. Schmidt
In this (probably) autobiographical series of stories about growing up in Long Island in 1967, Holling recounts the teacher who hated his guts so much that she taught him to love Shakespeare, running, and camping out. While Vietnam wages on and MLK and Bobby are gunned down, Holling is learning that the Bard has a lot of wisdom to impart and that sometimes a mean lunch lady, a shy Vietnamese refugee, two angry rats, and the daughter of his father's competitor can be useful allies in helping you find yourself.
Imagine a really decent episode of The Wonder Years, then imagine nine of them. Except that these are really good episodes (were there any??). Heck, just imagine something like that but multiply it several times over. I'm no fan of historical fiction and any novel that goes off on baseball is guaranteed to put me to sleep, yet I loved this one. Sweet, insightful, and touching, but not overly saccharine. It was a good pick for a Newbery Honor this year.