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Wishin' and Hopin'

3.52  ·  Rating Details ·  11,784 Ratings  ·  1,770 Reviews
Wally Lamb, the beloved #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Hour I First Believed, I Know This Much Is True, and She’s Come Undone, delivers a holiday treat with Wishin’ and Hopin’—an unforgettable novella that captures the warmth and joy of the holiday season. Poignant and hilarious, in a vein similar to Jean Shepherd’s A Christmas Story and David Sedaris’s The Sa ...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published November 2nd 2010 by Harper Perennial (first published November 1st 2009)
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Annette Reynolds Happy New Year, Nancy! If you're a Wally Lamb fan I think you'll love "Wishin' and Hopin'."

I read it a couple of months ago and reviewed it here: …more
Happy New Year, Nancy! If you're a Wally Lamb fan I think you'll love "Wishin' and Hopin'."

I read it a couple of months ago and reviewed it here: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...

It's a darling novella and had no idea there was a movie! So thanks for the info!!

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Sandie
Jul 18, 2010 Sandie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It must be an age thing but the older I get the more nostalgic I become and the more books like Wally Lamb's Wishin' and Hopin': A Christmas Story appeal to me.

This little saga takes the reader back to the 60's when kids were really kids (and not little zombies tied by the "electronic umbilical cord" to either, their cell phone, computer, or i-pod). They went to school, were fearful of their teachers (instead of visa-versa), had no "rights" (except to learn the assigned classroom material) and
...more
Mo
Jun 14, 2013 Mo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was absolutely delightful!

If you ever went to Catholic school (as I did for 13 years!), enjoyed the movie "A Christmas Story", or laughed til you cried while reading the Christmas pageant scene in "A Prayer for Owen Meany", then this book is for you.

This wonderfully nostalgic book was the perfect way to close out my year. Surprisingly, this was only my 2nd book read in 2015 that I deemed worthy of 5***** stars! I knew I was stingy with my 5 stars, but that's just sad.
Susan
Nov 28, 2009 Susan rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I wasn't sure what to expect of this book when I started, but certainly not the story I got. The title describes this as a Christmas story but there was hardly anything 'Christmasy' about it till the last third of the book. I didn't really think it was funny, just one part towards the end. I was given alot of 1960s references - songs, personalities, slang, etc. - almost too much. And the dialogue with the Russian student was just too complicated and time-consuming to read through at times.

I tho
...more
Nannie Bittinger
This is a most wonderful book...he nailed the Catholic School experience in the 60's but then it could be any school as my husband asked, half way through the audio book: "Who are these people? I don't recognize the names but I feel like I went to school with them!" Everything is wrapped up neatly and completely but no sappiness, just life, funny and touching and real! Read by the author too, and very well done.
Michael
Nostalgic and sweet visitation of an early 60's childhood from the perspective of 10-year Felix Funicello over one Fall at a parochial school in a small Connecticut town. Your heart goes out to this underdog nerd of a kid as he negotiates the moral certitude of the nuns and priests with the Beatles as a chorus. After a customary birds and bees lesson he just doesn't quite have the story straight. His father leaves the sex education up to chance and his only sources are what he can gather from th ...more
Paul Jensen
Where do I begin? Let's start with: THIS ISN'T A CHRISTMAS BOOK. It's just a fictionalized nostalgic look at a boy's life during the 60's, and a small part of it happens to involve a school Christmas pageant. So if you're expecting some kind of feel-good (or feel-bad, this IS Wally Lamb we're talking about here...) holiday plot (which the COVER OF THE BOOK LEADS YOU TO BELIEVE!) you might be disappointed. But even for a book about a boy's life it falls flat. There are a few smiles along the way ...more
Diane
Nov 12, 2009 Diane rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well we all know how much I love Wally Lamb. I really, really wanted to love this book. If it is meant to be a Christmas book, it should have some major holiday feel good at the end and it did not. It reminded me of a male Judy Blume book since it is told from the perspective of a 5th grade boy. It was easy to read and the characters were lovable even with their quirkiness and flaws. (but it is my favorite author and it took me almost 2 weeks to read 225 pages..).

He has lots of characters and cl
...more
Marisa Fields
Aug 29, 2010 Marisa Fields rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book was a grave disappointment to me. I have enjoyed every Wally Lamb novel and have a certain expectation of depth, mystery and wonderful character development. This book failed in all three categories. I have nothing against a short, quick read, but I still want to be entranced by the story. I not only do not give this book a thumbs up, I give it a giant raspberry as a waste of precious reading time.
Jenn(ifer)
If you're ever looking for a good book to read after you've just finished something really long or intense, this is the book to choose! It's the perfect antidote. I literally laughed out loud, making myself look like a crazy lady giggling to myself on the subway. I highly recommend it!
Teresa
Dec 24, 2009 Teresa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Teresa by: Cathrine
A fun, quick read that was absolutely perfect for my reading capabilities during these last few nights before Christmas. Also a good read for anyone who grew up in the early 60s, esp if they went to a Catholic school back then. Thanks, Cathrine!
Alison
Nov 27, 2010 Alison rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This was like a combination of "A Christmas Story" (you know--the one with the leg lamp) and a book I read in about the third grade called "The Worst Christmas Pageant Ever." It's meant to make you feel nostalgic for a different era, and see how much more quirky and loveable people used to be--like nuns, and people who worked at lunch counters or participated in bake-offs. This didn't work for me, but in it's defense, I can say most holiday pieces don't. I did enjoy the ending--it was sweet, une ...more
Ted
Dec 04, 2016 Ted rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wally Lamb proves he can be damn funny. This short novel is filled with event after event that will leave you laughing out loud. It is 1964 and Felix Funicello, the distant cousin of Annette, is a Fifth Grader in catholic school. Lamb tells the story through Felix's eyes and if you have ever been a fifth-grade boy you know Lamb just nails this. For you fans of A Christmas Story, there are scenes where Felix out Ralphies Ralphie.
Melody
What a wonderful, poignant, story of life in the early sixties for the Funnicello family and the Catholic school they attended. I'm still laughing about Joseph Cotton's head rolling down the stairs and the "too afraid to go to sleep" Felix. My kids did the same thing to me after watching a half hour of "The Shining". Couldn't go to sleep by themselves for a month! Great book!
Kathy (Bermudaonion)
Felix Funicello’s family owns the lunch counter at the local bus station and their claim to fame is that Annette Funicello is their cousin. Felix is in the fifth grade at St. Aloysius Gonzago Parochial School. At the beginning of the school year Sister Dymphna, his teacher, has a breakdown of sorts and is replaced by a lay teacher, the glamorous Madame Marguerite. The classroom is full of characters typical of an elementary school and the school year progresses much like a normal year – mostly s ...more
Steph
Please don't be fooled by this book's jolly cover and its sub-title, "A Christmas Story." Much like Jean Shepherd's A Christmas Story, Lamb's novel is disappointingly unchristmasy. The final one-third of the book involves a christmas play, but it lacks the nostalgic holiday feel that I was hoping for.

The cover and sub-title of Wishin' and Hopin': A Christmas Story make me wonder if christmas is just used as a selling point. People are more apt to buy anything that has a red bow on it, right?
Kris - My Novelesque Life
I have to start off by saying, I am a huge fan of Wally Lamb’s writing! She’s Come Undone is one of my favourite novels, followed closely by This Much Is True . I have read the former book a few times, and twice for the latter, as the next novel would not be published for over a decade. As soon as his third novel, The Hour I First Believed was published I had a hold on it at the library. It is another massive book but I read it within four days. I enjoyed the novel but felt at times it just went ...more
Pamela Faust
Felix Funicello is a fifth grade boy, attending Catholic grad school, in 1965. He’s vying for the top spot, in his class, with suckbutt Rosalie Twerski (Turdski) who is forever bringing in extra credit posters and projects that have never been assigned. His best friend, Lonny, is a troublemaker who is doing his best to misinform Felix about the birds and the bees since Felix’s dad is not doing a great job at it (the only advice he gives is not to touch his mouth to a drinking fountain). There is ...more
Lauri Saplad
This book is hysterical! A snapshot of America in a more innocent and hopeful time and set at Christmas. What could be better?
Deb
Jan 01, 2014 Deb rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a book that I think only those who lived through the era of the 60s as a child can relate to. I loved this book as many of the events and people Felix mentioned I remember...Annette Funnicello was and still is one of my favorite movie people and was a great role model for those of us growing up during that time and in recent years when she announced she had MS! What a brave, strong lady! I remember going to the St. Brieux theatre to see her movie "Beach Blanket Bingo" with my cousins Joa ...more
Coco
Jan 01, 2010 Coco rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
First, I must admit, I'm not a Lamb fan. But I was told this book was not his normal fare, so I thought I might like it. I slogged through it, hoping the series of slapped together 1960s vignettes (can you say Pillsbury Bake off and Mickey Mouse Club?) and bits of fifth grade boy humor would pick up, but no such luck. Unlike A Christmas Story, to which I've seen this compared, Lamb's book never captures the feel of the decade. Felix, our young Catholic school hero, reminds me of those kids on th ...more
Linda
Dec 09, 2014 Linda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: childhood, christmas
Probably a 3.5, but my guffaws and laughing out loud tell me to round up. Reading Wally Lamb's Wishin' and Hopin' brought to mind Ralphie Parker in Jean Shephard's The Christmas Story (actually a combination of stories from In God We Trust); Wishin' and Hopin' takes place in the 60s rather than the 50s, same age youngsters, bullies, friendships, life lessons learned, a parochial school and all the memories that will conjure up. It feels as though Lamb is reflecting on memories past rather than a ...more
Grey853
Dec 11, 2009 Grey853 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I found the book annoying and disappointing. It's marketed as a holiday story, but there's nothing much about Christmas until the end.

Part of the problem was the writing style, which was flat with weak attempts at immature humor. The other part is that I just couldn't relate to the main character's memories of his life growing up in a Catholic school system. It just came across as bizarre rather than humorous.
JoAnn/QuAppelle
I got this book and took it back to the library two days later, abandoned. I thought there was finally a Lamb book that I would like...it was short and took place at a time in our history that was near and dear to my heart. Well, it was not to be. The book is a series of "slices of life" vignettes with no discernible plot. Almost like a catalog of 60s references.

I did, however, like the green font that was used...unusual.
Serena.. Sery-ously?
La notizia super che ho appreso rileggendo il libro è che ne hanno tratto un film. La cattiva è che il DVD non si trova su Amazon, forse non siamo abbastanza degni.. Lo troverò, è una promessa!
L'ho trovato addirittura migliore della prima volta, mi ha fatto un sacco ridere!! La scrittura di Lamb poi è tanta roba :3
Siamo sicuramente lontani da "I know this much is true", ma quello è un capolavoro, period.
Kathryn
Nov 05, 2010 Kathryn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: christmas, 2010
What a great book, I read it in two days. All of the characters seem like someone I knew in my childhood. It takes place in 1964 which I remember quite vividly. My only drawback was I wasn't raised a Catholic, but most of my friends were. I love how the author did an Epilogue of where all the characters are now. A great ending for the book.
Mimi
Jan 01, 2010 Mimi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very sweet, atmospheric book. It was just what I was looking for in a holiday book. Not too saccharine. I grew up in an Italian Catholic town and the parochial school was very prominent. This echoed those times very nicely. Well worth reading.
Kasey Brinkley
Dec 26, 2016 Kasey Brinkley rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fun, light read. Reminded me of the television show Wonder Years the way the main character, Felix, narrated the book by telling stories from his childhood. Laughed out load several times while reading!
cameron
Dec 18, 2016 cameron rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This would get a fifth star just because it is my childhood. A delicious, nostalgic, Poignant, accurate picture of life growing up in the 60's.
Kelly Gladney
Mar 10, 2017 Kelly Gladney rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So fun. After reading the previous Wally Lamb, I realized there was one more I hadn't read so I snatched it up. Little did I know it was an expansion of a character from the previous book. It was completely from the perspective of a 10 yr. old boy. In the previous book, this boy was a grown man meeting ghosts in an old theater and looking back on his family life growing up. This one was the 10 yr old boy telling about everything that happens to him in the Fall of 1964. I especially enjoyed the v ...more
Louis
Dec 22, 2013 Louis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read the print edition of this book for a book club.

This was a quick read and so funny. Part of its attraction for me was that I grew up in the same era, although I was younger than the protagonist, Felix Funicello.

The story follows the adventures of 5th grader Felix, who is enrolled at St. Aloysius Gonzaga Parochial School, in Three Rivers, CT. The time span is the fall and winter of 1964.

Part of the story involves Felix's family. Annette Funicello is a 3rd cousin. Felix's dad operates a di
...more
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Wally Lamb is the author of She's Come Undone, The Hour I First Believed, and I Know This Much Is True. Two were featured as selections of Oprah's Book Club. Lamb is the recipient of the Connecticut Center for the Book's Lifetime Achievement Award, the Connecticut Bar Association's Distinguished Public Service Award, the Connecticut Governor's Art Award, the Barnes & Noble Writers for Writers ...more
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