Sunday's Reviews > The Wednesday Wars

The Wednesday Wars by Gary D. Schmidt
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Aug 14, 11

bookshelves: newbery-award
Read in August, 2011

It's official. I'm a fan of Gary Schmidt, the author of Wednesday Wars and Okay for Now. My next read is Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy.
Wednesday Wars - Holling Hoodhood is a seventh grader in 1967-68; the story is from his perspective - the school year with Mrs. Baker the kill-and-drill grammar teacher who has a hidden side he discovers when he's the only student in her class on Wednesday afternoons (the Catholics and the Jews go to their respective institutions for religious school, but Holling is Presbyterian with nowhere to go); Mrs. Baker makes him read Shakespeare and Holling's world opens up. Thus begins Schmidt's use of Shakespeare's themes to make sense of a 7th grader's world - in a home where the father dictates the perfect life for everyone (or tries to) in an effort to be named Businessman of the Year by the local Chamber of Commerce, in a school where the cafeteria lady's husband is MIA and she takes it out on the Vietnamese refugee student, in a world torn apart by the contrast between how Walter Cronkite portrays the world and the U.S. government's propaganda to the contrary, in a world where Mickey Mantle practices his own kind of prejudice/arrogance, but other Yankee players like Joe Pepitone step up to be role models for young boys.
Schmidt brings this time period to life. I found myself laughing out loud and then ready to weep. Well written and accessible to midde school students.
The only reason I didn't give it 5 stars is because Okay for Now is that much better.
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