Martin's Reviews > Wishin' and Hopin'

Wishin' and Hopin' by Wally Lamb
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's review
Dec 05, 2011

liked it
Read from December 05 to 12, 2011

I should preface this by stating:
1) I like Wally Lamb books a lot
2) I really like funny stories about kids that are set in pre-1980s America

I almost gave this one 4 stars because of the big smile on my face when I finished it. Wishin' and Hopin' is not a traditional "Christmas Story" per se. The title makes reference to Dusty Springfield, not some Christmas present that Felix Funicello, the narrator of this story who also happens to be a third cousin to Annette Funicello, is pining for. The story, set in 1964, is about Felix navigating the 5th grade at St. Aloysius Gonzaga Parochial School in Connecticut and the ensuing Christmas pageant.

The cast of characters are just like the ones we all encountered in the 5th grade - the bossy tattle tale teacher's pet, the rough and tumble boy who was "held back" and knows a lot more about life than anyone else and usually communicates his knowledge through dirty jokes, the chubby shy kid who wears thick glasses, the new kid who moves in from some far flung place, etc.

This story is simple and you can read this in one afternoon but it reminded me of how much simpler life was when I was in the 5th grade (in the early 70's as opposed to the 60's), the things that ruled your world and how life was changing before your eyes, not yet an adolescent and not really still a child. Wishin' and Hopin' reminded me of what it was like to wake up to the world and realize that you are starting to grow up. Plus, the epilogue is great. Oh, and I laughed out loud as I read.
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