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Review: Wishin’ and Hopin’

November 29, 2009

Felix Funicello’s family owns the lunch counter at the local bus station and their claim to fame is that Annette Funicello is their cousin.  Felix is in the fifth grade at St. Aloysius Gonzago Parochial School. At the beginning of the school year Sister Dymphna, his teacher,  has a breakdown of sorts and is replaced by a lay teacher, the glamorous Madame Marguerite.  The classroom is full of characters typical of an elementary school and the school year progresses much like a normal year – mostly smooth but with a few bumps along the way.

That is until Madame suggests her class perform tableaux vivants for their part of the school’s Christmas pageant.  It seems that everything that can go wrong does that night for the fifth grade class, but something magical does happen for Felix and his family.

I really enjoyed Wishin’ and Hopin’ by Wally Lamb.  It’s not your traditional, inspirational Christmas story, but boy, is it a lot of fun!  For me, it’s in the spirit of A Christmas Story by Jean Shepherd.  The characters in the book are so real and Felix is the perfect narrator.  He’s sweet and innocent, but sure does hate to admit it, which gets him in trouble a time or two.  I laughed out loud quite a few times while I was reading this book.

Wishin’ and Hopin’ is set during the 1960’s and, even though Felix would have been a few years older than me, I think Wally Lamb did a great job capturing the spirit of the era.  Lamb included an epilogue in the back to let readers know how the fictional characters turned out and I thought that added another fun element to the book.   Reading Wishin’ and Hopin’ would make a great holiday tradition.

This is my first book for the Holiday Reading Challenge.

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24 Comments leave one →
  1. November 29, 2009 7:33 am

    We LOVE A Christmas Story. We will watch that movie several times each season. Last year, my mom even got my son Ovaltine for a joke. I also love Wally Lamb, so I don’t know how this book could be anything but wonderful. Thanks for the review!

  2. November 29, 2009 8:04 am

    I’m glad to hear it was a good book. I won a copy last week so it will be coming to my mailbox. I can’t wait to read it. I love A Christmas Story. Another Christmas book I enjoyed was Skipping Christmas. I laughed through the whole book. Great review!

  3. November 29, 2009 8:10 am

    I’ve been curious about this book for a while now. I love Christmas stories that are funny but not too, too sappy, so it sounds like this one could be a good one for me. Thanks for the great review!

  4. November 29, 2009 10:58 am

    Since I too totally love A Christmas Story, I will have to check this out if it has a similar feel.

  5. November 29, 2009 11:42 am

    I thought this one was really cute too! Light and funny — just what I need when I get too stressed out during the holiday season.

  6. November 29, 2009 12:18 pm

    Sounds like the perfect book for me to pick up! Thanks for the great review – and recommendation.

  7. November 29, 2009 12:47 pm

    I have this one in my TBR pile and am hoping to get to it this week! Thanks for the review- great to know that you enjoyed it!

  8. November 29, 2009 1:51 pm

    This sounds very cute. And I was always a fan of Annette so I could relate to it!

  9. November 29, 2009 2:24 pm

    Terrific review, Kathy. I’m in the mood for a book such as this. Thanks!

  10. November 29, 2009 2:37 pm

    We also love A Christmas Story. This book sounds like good fun.

  11. November 29, 2009 2:53 pm

    I’ve loved everything I have read my Wally Lamb so far so I would try this one just based on the fact that he wrote it. I’ve not heard of this one either so thanks for sharing!

  12. November 29, 2009 5:13 pm

    This does sound like a fun book!

  13. November 29, 2009 6:06 pm

    Sounds truly delightful!!! I’ve read good things about this one.

  14. November 29, 2009 7:35 pm

    Gotta love A Christmas Story- talk about a modern classic! The Wally Lamb book sounds adorable.

  15. November 29, 2009 8:52 pm

    I was surprised to see this book was by Wally Lamb … perhaps it is better suited to his writing style than some of the overblown novels he has been writing … he is great writer but his books have been a bit bloated lately. If it is like “A Christmas Story,” I’m sure I’ll like it!

  16. November 29, 2009 9:56 pm

    I read this over the weekend and LOVED it. Felix was my age so boy could I relate…LOL

  17. November 30, 2009 12:08 am

    I was just thinking this would be a great read for the Holiday Challenge when I read your last line of your post! LOL

  18. November 30, 2009 12:43 am

    I knew I should have bought this one when I was at the bookstore yesterday! I was trying so hard to be good and felt guilty just buying the one for myself amidst all the books I bought as gifts for my family. I am glad to hear you enjoyed this one, Kathy. I may have to make another trip to the bookstore.

  19. November 30, 2009 1:19 am

    Sounds like a great read. Glad u enjoyed it.

  20. November 30, 2009 8:49 am

    Sounds fun. I don’t read a lot of holiday books but I like that it’s set in the 1960s.

  21. November 30, 2009 10:02 am

    I’ve wanted this one for awhile and entered several contests for it, but so far, nothing. Guess I’ll have to break down and buy it!

  22. November 30, 2009 3:36 pm

    This looks like a great holiday read and I’m really glad that you liked it! I have put this one on my wish list and am hoping to read it before all the holiday festivities begin! Great review!

  23. December 8, 2009 9:50 am

    This sounds cute. I’ve never read any Wally Lamb, but I may give this one a try.

  24. December 20, 2009 7:10 pm

    It may be February before I get to it, but I’ve got to read this book!

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