Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Wednesday Wars

By Gary D. Schmidt

Holling Hoodhood is really in for it.
He’s just started seventh grade with Mrs. Baker, a teacher he knows is out to get him. Why else would she make him read Shakespeare…outside of class?
The year is 1967, and everyone has bigger things to worry about. There’s Vietnam for one thing, and then there’s the family business. As far as Holling’s father is concerned, nothing is more important than the family business. In fact, all the Hoodhoods must be on their best behavior at all times. The success of Hoodhoood and Associates depends on it. But how can Holling stay out of trouble when he has Mrs. Baker to contend with?

This book completely deserved the Newberry Honor it got. Holling's perspective and narration of events in this rather rough part of history along with his own personal tragedies and triumphs will leave you profoundly grateful and reminiscent of when you were a kid yourself and were certain that one teacher really really hated your guts. I felt for him at every disaster, every embarassment, and every tragedy. This coming-of-age book is sure to be shelved with the best of them; including Lowis Lowry's The Giver and Jerry Spinelli's Stargirl, with it's own unique voice. And oh boy if you know Shakespeare, you'll get an even bigger kick out of Holling's interpretations of Romeo and Juliet, The Tempest, Hamlet, Julius Ceaser, and Macbeth. You gotta love the honesty of kids before they learn tact! I especially loved the fact that Holling memorized Caliban's curses from The Tempest and started calling everyone he hated Shakespearian cuss words. :) Toads, beetles, bats! But this book is good!

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