Imagine, being alone with your 7th grade teacher, every Wednesday afternoon, all school year. Horrifying, right? Well, that is what Hollis Hoodhood is faced with in 1968 when he begins 7th grade. See, everyone else leaves school on Wednesday afternoons in 7th grade for religious studies. Everyone except for Hollis because he is Presbyterian, not Catholic or Jewish. Quickly, Hollis realizes Mrs. Baker has it out for him, first by trying to get him killed by sending him outside to play football with some juvenile delinquents, and then secondly, by sheer boredom by forcing him to read Shakespeare.
In The Wednesday Wars by Gary Schmidt, Hollis runs the gamut from trying to outsmart the 8th graders at school, his teacher, 2 rats that have gone rouge in the school, and then his own father at times. All this is set within the turmoil over the escalating violence in Vietnam, and hearing how more and more soldiers are being killed each day. Issues arise in Hollis’ own family with his sister and father constantly butting heads over politics and how to live one’s own life. Hollis has to make some pretty big decisions for himself over how much he will let others dictate his life and how much he wants to control it himself.
Parts of this book were laugh out loud for me, but to truly get this book you’ll need to be a reader with some knowledge of the climate of the 1960s. A book worth enjoying but not a light read.
Recommended for 7th grade and up.