Saturday, March 12, 2011

The Wednesday Wars

The Wednesday WarsThe Wednesday Wars by Gary D. Schmidt
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I have been exceptionally tired, and so I have put off reviewing "The Wednesday Wars" though I could not stop talking about it while I was reading it and the days after I finished it. This book, despite its detailed depiction of rats running around in the classroom ceiling, was wonderful. I love that it took place in 1967-1968. I love the political and social references, and the wording used to characterize the main character Holling Hoodhood's (yes, Hoodhood really is his last name) teacher Mrs. Baker. I love the Shakespeare references and how well Schmidt captured the simple desires a seventh grader has for validation and acceptance.

This is simply a story of a seventh grader named Holling who doesn't quite fit in (in all honesty, what seventh grader ever feels like he/she fits in?) and his path to figuring out his worth over the course of a school year. Throw in Mickey Mantle, Vietnam, an unrelenting father, Catholics, Jews, and cream puffs, and you have "The Wednesday Wars."

I'm not sure a middle schooler (the intended audience) would love this book as much as adult, but I think they would enjoy it - perhaps for different reasons than an adult would. Teachers, especially, would enjoy this book - we can't help but love well-written characterizations of ourselves.

As for being a Newberry Honor Book, I am glad to report, that Schmidt's "Wednesday Wars" is very deserving. Happy reading!

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