Monday, March 31, 2014

THE WEDNESDAY WARS Book Review

Let me be honest with you.

I've been hanging around The Wednesday Wars for a while now, reading the first couple of pages and thinking, Where on earth is this going?  And putting it back on the library bookshelf.

But finally I manned up, checked it out, and read it, and I honestly think it's one of my favorite MG books now.



The year is 1967, and Holling Hoodhood's English teacher hates his guts.  He just knows it.  Little does he realize that staying in Wednesday afternoons with Mrs. Baker will lead to adventures with yellow tights, overfed rats, and...Shakespeare?

The Characters
What I Expected:
I thought that Holling would be--here we go again--the stereotypical Diary-of-a-Wimpy-Kid cynic (man, I have low expectations).  I thought he would rebel against any form of authority, like his English teacher, Mrs. Baker.  

What I Got:
Holling.  Is.  Amazing.  He's a totally kool kid (I know, I said the same thing about Sean last week, but Holling really is amazing.)  He's very ideal MC material, and as this is a character-driven novel, he has this hilarious knack for getting into mishaps and mayhem.  This is a character-driven novel, and Holling's antics take you on quite a journey.

The Plot
What I Expected:
I thought that it would be a hilarious book dedicated to describing Mrs. Baker's and Holling's war.  On Wednesdays.

What I Got:
It turned out to be so much more than middle school blues.  It's 1967, so the Vietnam War is going on, and things are getting heated up in the US.  Holling doesn't steal the Crown Jewels or anything--the book depicts his normal life--but his messes at school are enough to keep a person busy through the entire 264-page book.  It's not one giant story so much as it is little anecdotes from a normal kid's life that just happen to blend together.

What I Didn't Like
  • I feel like many books in today's society focus on doing justice to the Democratic Party.  The Republicans are portrayed as the firm, line-drawing elephants that keep society from expanding.  While this wasn't as prevalent in The Wednesday Wars, it was still there.  It wasn't any fault of the author's--he was just stating his opinions--but I disagree.  (I also don't want this to turn into a political forum, so I'm stopping right here :)
Additional Notes:
  • I hated the characters of Holling's parents, but they were necessary.  
  • Don't expect Mrs. Baker to be a Mr. Terupt-esque teacher.  Because she isn't, and I grew to love her all the more for it.
  • Holling and his sister share a stereotypical love-hate relationship.  I was going to put this under What I Didn't Like, but then I realized that their relationship is quite realistic, and it added humor (and meaning) to the story.
  • The historical aspect of the story was an awesome idea on Mr. Schmidt's part.
  • I really wanted to eat those fried bananas.
Rating: 5 out of 5 cubes
I'm being very gushy right now, but seriously, I don't know why I waited this long to read it.  Read it!

**Note: My MMGM reviews will no longer be posted on this blog.  Next week, try this blog (opening to the public on April 6th, 2014).  I'll be featuring Walk Two Moons, by Sharon Creech.

Any thoughts, recommendations, or suggestions?  Comment below!  (But please make sure to keep your comments constructive and encouraging to others!)


6 comments:

  1. I read this one last year and loved it, too. Holling makes a brief appearance in a later book, OKAY FOR NOW, which is all about his friend Doug Swieteck. It's also a winning story and a great companion to THE WEDNESDAY WARS.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh my gargoyles, I'll have to check out OKAY FOR NOW. Thanks for letting me know!

      Delete
  2. Loved this one. Alot. Hope you enjoy OKAY FOR NOW, too!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Loved this one too! Like you, I wasn't sure I was going to like it at first, but really got into it. After seeing the other comments, I guess I need to check out OKAY FOR NOW too. Thanks for the great review!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No problem :D Thanks for reading!

      Delete