Earlier this month, a friend on a writer’s email group asked if anyone else had read The Wednesday Wars by Gary D. Schmidt (released in 2007 for the YA market). My friend didn’t have to say much to make me want to give the book a try. I bought it right away but was in the middle of another book so didn’t get to start it until about a week ago.
The Wednesday Wars is set during the school year of 1967-1968. The protagonist is 7th grader Holling Hoodhood, the only Presbyterian in his class. Every Wednesday, half the class goes off for Hebrew instruction and the other half goes off for Catholic instruction. Holling is left in his teacher’s care. If not for him, Mrs. Baker would have Wednesday afternoons off. Therefore he is sure she hates him as only a teacher can and is out to kill him in devious ways, including by making him read Shakespeare plays.
I don’t want to give away too much of the story. But I will say this: I laughed and laughed and laughed. I related to all the angst of a 12 year old. I remembered those atomic bomb drills where we got under our desks. I also ached over parts of the story. The writer is truly gifted at saying much with a few words. He also reminded me why I’m glad I’m not a 7th grade boy dealing with the 8th grade boys on the cross-country team. Read the book to know what I mean. LOL! And it is a rare writer who can bring me to tears while I’m walking on the treadmill, but that’s what happened to me when he so wonderfully described the sound Mrs. Baker made when–– (Nope! Not gonna say more.)
I almost hate to post this review today, four days before Christmas. A lot of my usual blog readers and Facebook readers will surely miss it. I hope not too many. If you were ever a kid, if you were ever in the 7th grade, and especially if you were a 7th grade kid during the turbulent ’60s, you need to read this book.