The Wednesday Wars
By Gary D. Schmidt
Luck is not on the side of seventh grader Holling Hoodhood. Every Wednesday while half of his classmates attend Hebrew School at Temple Beth-El, the other half go to catechism at Saint Adelbert, Holling of Presbyterian faith is left all alone with Mrs. Baker. A teacher he is sure hates him with heat whiter than the sun. At first Mrs. Baker puts Holling in charge of custodian duties around the classroom but after a few freak accidents involving cream puffs, chalk dust and rats she decides that reading Shakespeare together would be much safer for both of them. Holling is absolutely sure that Mrs. Baker is out to get him and tries his very best to be on his best behavior throughout the year. But staying out of trouble is pretty hard to do when your on the top of the junior high bully hit list, man eating rats are after you and your experiencing your first crush.
In my mind I could see it all: I pull back my arm, plant my left foot, Doug Swieteck's brother comes sliding into sight, I release the fastball, his face turns toward me at the last moment, and the snow-ice-slush-spitball splatters against his nose. Perfect.
I didn't really think it would happen that way. The snowball would hit the bus. Or I'd miss entirely. Or it would hit someplace that he'd hardly feel. Or maybe he wouldn't even be holding the bumper. Or maybe I wouldn't even throw it.
But I did.
And it happened exactly as I'd imagined it.
Can you believe this stuff?
Because you don't have to be Shakespeare to know that's not the way it happens in the real world. In the real world, people fall out of love little by little, not all at once. They stop looking at each other. They stop talking. They stop serving lima beans. After Walter Cronkite is finished, one of them goes for a ride in a Ford Mustang, and the other goes upstairs to the bedroom. And there is a lot of quiet in the house. And late at night, the sounds of sadness creep underneath the bedroom doors and along the dark halls.
That's the way it is in the real world.
If I had to sum up The Wednesday Wars in two words it would be humor and heart. It's a great story filled with laugh out loud moments and tenderness. Holling takes the reader on a journey of growth as he strives to figure out who he is and who he wants to become.
I recommend this book for ages 10 and up. Both boys and girls would get a kick out of Holling Hoodhood. I bought this book at a school book sale and I'm donating it to the Salmon Public Library.