November 20th, 2013 by Karen
Not super happy? Well, it could be worse! For example: If you had to spend every Wednesday afternoon alone with a teacher who hated you, how would you feel?
Yeah, well, that’s exactly how Holling feels when it happens to him in The Wednesday Wars by Gary D. Schmidt. And to make matters worse, Mrs. Baker (his teacher) forces him to read Shakespeare with her!
As if Holling doesn’t already have enough going on dealing with his dad (who expects him to eventually take over the family architecture business) and his sister (a flower child who doesn’t see eye to eye with the rest of the family).
This is definitely not your average teacher-knows-best story. Yes, I found it very moving at times and I was sometimes fighting back tears. (This story does take place during the Vietnam War, after all.) But I also thought the book was hilarious and found myself fighting back laughter plenty of times.
Holling is a completely believable character, and I wish there were a sequel so I could continue following his adventures (and Mrs. Baker’s).
There is a kind-of-sequel about one of Holling’s friends, called Okay for Now — but I haven’t read it yet. Have you?
If you’ve read either The Wednesday Wars or Okay for Now, leave a comment and let me know your thoughts. Did you love reading about Holling and Mrs. Baker as much as I did? And were you inspired to read any Shakespeare yourself?
By chance, Karen saw a production of The Tempest right after reading this book. While waiting in line for tickets, Karen couldn’t stop thinking of Holling’s costume when he performs in the play — yellow tights and feathers on the butt and all!