Kat Alexander's Reviews > The Wednesday Wars

The Wednesday Wars by Gary D. Schmidt
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Apr 01, 10

bookshelves: read-2010, reviewed
Recommended to Kat by: Sofie ('tis her book)
Recommended for: Ariel
Read in April, 2010

Hrm. Well. I feel kind of awful giving this book three stars. But three stars is good, and besides...
The dude sounds like a fourth-grader. Not a seventh-grader.

Sigh.

It does get better, so far is that is concerned, though.

Anyway. Getting past my usual nit-picking on the author's style, as ages are hardly ever correct around that age, I can move onto the gushing part.

Best historical fic I have read in a long, long time. Gary Schmidt might make Holling sound like an eleven-year-old, but he most certainly has his moments. The book perfectly weaves in threads of tension from the Vietnam War (-cough-Conflict. My US history teacher has taught me well.), as well as a small amount of references on the subject of civil rights. Holling's sister, Heather, is a "flower child"--a hippie, in her father's eyes. Mai Thi is from Vietnam, and faces many challenges because of it--not just the language barrier, but also discrimination. Multiple teachers have husbands in the war (conflict).

And all of it is seen through the innocent eyes of Holling Hoodhood, the initially ignorant boy who refuses to believe that his English teacher is in fact not out to get him.

Various funny moments are woven through, such as the rats, as well as a few "bad" things, such as the incident over a signed baseball (not to give away an spoilers).

And, of course, there is an awful lot of Shakespeare stuck in, abet a bit awkwardly. If Holling is really so immature as he sounds, how on Earth can he read and memorise Shakespeare with so little effort?

Of course, upon thinking back, I realised "Ya'know? Everything went pretty well for Holling. The whole time." There are maybe a half-dozen concentrated "bad things" that happen to Holling, but they all manage to resolve themselves, often with the help of "evil" Mrs Baker. Way to send a positive message, Mr Author, if not very true-to-life. And way to make a kid look rather stupid.

But, losing the sarcasm, way to bring mature things into a, for lack of a better phrase, lighter light.
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