J's Reviews > The Wednesday Wars

The Wednesday Wars by Gary D. Schmidt
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's review
Aug 14, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: middle-school-fiction, historical-fiction

Likeable 7th grader Holling Hoodhood is convinced that his new teacher, Mrs. Baker, hates him. He feels singled out with looks, extra assignments, and finally -- Wednesday afternoons spent alone with his nemesis because all the other kids in the class go to religious school. What follows is a wonderful student/teacher relationship. She pushes him to read Shakespeare and stretch his learning, he manages to screw up in every way possible. Except when he's a hero, which happens pretty frequently too. There are some hilarious scenes, like when he has to wear bright yellow tights for a community Shakespeare play, with long white feathers attached to...well, he hates to say. He manages to let the classroom rats escape, which sets off a months-long rat chase. All of this is set against the historical backdrop of the Vietnam War, giving it a seriousness and poignancy that sets it apart from standard middle school coming-of-age stories. Lots of baseball, running, and a touch of romance, and author Gary Schmidt has got the balance just right. Mickey Mantle doesn't come off so well, though.
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