The Wednesday Wars by Gary D. Schmidt
Holling Hoodhood lives in a town where everyone is either Jewish or Catholic. When they all go to their classes, he’s left alone because he’s not Jewish or Catholic. His teacher, Mrs. Baker, soon starts a special program for him. They read Shakespeare.
Holling’s father is an architect with a bid to design the new middle school, but there is local competition. It’s also the middle of the Vietnam War. Holling’s sister wants to be a flower child who protests the war. Their father is not enthused by this.
As the war rages on, Holling learns what Shakespeare is about. He learns more about himself. He learns that life is full of battles, but that maybe warfare isn’t the way to solve those battles. Best of all, he learns about the basic goodness of people that will shine, if you let it.
What I liked
I did enjoy this book. This was a life of a young person during another war. I, and many others, grew up with war hanging over our heads. In many ways, the atmosphere is similar. We have people we know who went to war. The war has affected our society. Some kids have lived their entire lives with war hanging over their heads. We don’t have the draft right now, which is a huge difference. Nobody we know will be unwillingly snatched up and send to Afghanistan or elsewhere.
Whether we like the idea or not, war does affect young people, even if the war is being fought thousands of miles away. This book is a great example of those effects.
I like Holling. I like Mrs. Baker. I like everyone for the most part. I felt like each character was unique and had their own problems.
What I didn’t like
Holling’s dad seems so rigid. Parents can be like that. Sometimes they’re right. Sometimes they’re wrong. In my life, my mother has specifically said, “Women’s lib is for the birds,” which I certainly don’t believe and it’s certainly not correct. That’s just one example of that rigidity that can do more harm than good.
I think Holling’s dad is one of those people who is so rigid in his opinions that he hurts other people with them.
Growing up is hard; growing up during a war is harder.
Do you think your growing up experience was influenced by the war?
Have rigid opinions of your parents negatively affected your life?