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Review: The Wednesday Wars by Gary D. Schmidt

The Wednesday Wars by Gary D. Schmidt

Published: print – Clarion Books, 2007
audio – Scholastic Audio Books, 2007

Source: School library copy

Why I chose to read

The novel is used in our sixth-grade English classes. I thought it was about time I read it!

Summary

It is 1967, and Holling Hoodhood is the only Presbyterian in his seventh-grade homeroom class. Consequently, he is the only student left behind on Wednesdays when everyone else goes to Hebrew school or catechism. In his opinion, this draws the ire of his teacher, Mrs. Baker. Why else would she force him to read Shakespeare?

Shakespeare is not Holling’s only concern. He also has to deal with rats, avoid Doug Swieteck’s brother, confront his father’s expectations of his future position with Hoodhood and Associates, and scrape together enough money for 24 cream puffs – twice. And that is just the beginning.

What I enjoyed

  • The humor, oh, the humor! The humor was highlighted particularly by Joel Johnstone’s hilarious narration.
  • Schmidt captured the tentative dynamic of middle-school romance perfectly.
  • The rat subplot.
  • Once again, Joel Johnstone – this time for the voice of the principal.
  • Mrs. Baker – she is the teacher I aspire to be.
  • Following Holling’s journey as he finds his “guts.”
  • Introducing today’s students to the joys of sentence diagramming.

What detracted from my enjoyment

The main plot did take a while to get going. I was distracted by the myriad deviations from the subplots early on. Many of them did end up tying back in later on, so it wasn’t wasted time, and all played an important role building an understanding of Holling and his world.

Related reads

Stories set in the Vietnam era
Countdown by Deborah Wiles
Kaleidoscope Eyes by Jen Bryant

Humorous school stories
Frindle by Andrew Clements
Operation Yes by Sara Lewis Holmes
The View from Saturday by E.L. Konigsburg

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