Douglas's Reviews > Wishin' and Hopin': A Novel

Wishin' and Hopin' by Wally Lamb
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Jan 11, 11

bookshelves: fiction
Read on January 10, 2011

My beloved sister-in-law, recognizing my penchant for sentimentality, kindly gave me this book for Christmas last month. I read it in essentially one sitting during a snow storm, even though I am normally burdened as a slow reader. That I read it in one sitting is an accurate indicator of how enjoyable and engaging this book is.

For us Baby Boomers who grew up in the 1960s, this book profoundly resonates. Mr. Lamb tells the story through the principal character, Felix Funicello, a precocious fifth grader attending Catholic school during 1964 in Connecticut. Felix shares his wonder of the world around him, as he yearns to learn more about "the birds and the bees" and understand ribald humor, while grappling in a power struggle with the smartest kid in his class, Rosalie, who always seems to receive the better grade than he, albeit just barely. At the center of the story is a Christmas pageant. The final chapter, which concerns the actual pageant, is absolutely hilarious.

I don't want to give away any secrets about Wishin' and Hopin': A Christmas Story. But please know that it is warm, funny, sweet, and upbeat. As a childhood memoir, Wishin' and Hopin': A Christmas Story is similar to Angela's Ashes with its humor, charm and innocence, but without the sadness and pathos.

After dealing with the drama and acrimonious disputes of my clients during the recently concluded holidays (I am a family law attorney), and smothered with the technical stuff of lawyers, Wishin' and Hopin': A Christmas Story was a very nice diversion.
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