The Wednesday Wars is a book I have been meaning to read since before it won a Newbery Honor a few years ago (my copy doesn't even have a medal on it). I think I started it once and then never really got into it. After reading several reviews lately that raved about it, I decided to put it on my list for the Read From Your Shelves challenge. This time once I got into it, I absolutely loved The Wednesday Wars. Holling Hoodhood is a likeable character, even though he is pretty sure his teacher, Mrs. Baker and his father don't like him all that much. And come to think about it, he is often picked on by his friends and sister, too. Set during the Viet Nam war, at first Holling's life seems far removed from the events in Viet Nam, yet even his life in New York is touched by the events in Asia. Each and every chapter was filled with such humor I had a hard time not chuckling out loud. As I was reading I felt as though Schmidt's writing was much like Richard Peck's when it came to humor. And yet, while this book is funny, there are an awful lot of lesson that Holling Hoodhood learns. Most are from his teacher, Mrs. Baker, who it turns out, doesn't dislike Holling at all and is a pretty amazing woman. The character I was most disappointed with was Holling's dad, who perhaps was not atypical of many men in that time period. Yet, his lack of interest in his family or their needs and desires was still disappointing. The references to Shakespeare make me wish I had paid a little more attention to the Shakespeare I have read, and their inclusion in this book is such a great addition to Holling's story.
I can't believe it has taken me so long to pick up this book, so anyone out there who is just sitting on this one should read it sooner rather than later. I will definitely be recommending this book to others.