Wednesday 29 August 2018

Lamb, Wally "Wishin' and Hopin'"

Lamb, Wally "Wishin' and Hopin': A Christmas Story" - 2009

Another one of my favourite authors, Wally Lamb. I came across this short novel (just a couple of pages too long for a novella) in my library and since I hadn't read it, yet (in fact, I hadn't even heard about it), I borrowed it. And loved it.

Such a cute story about kids growing up, their dilemmas at school and at home, their frustration with other students and their teachers, all bundled into a story about a Christmas play. Not since "The Best Christmas Pageant" by Barbara Robinson have I had such a good laugh about a Christmas story.

I was a kid myself in the sixties, so I can relate to a lot of the parts that might not sound as "normal" to contemporary children. I found it hilarious. I also liked how he gives "biographies" at the end about most of the characters so we can see what happened to them later.

Lovely story. I didn't know they made a movie out of it. This is one of the few books I read where I think I might like to watch the movie.

From the back cover:

"LBJ and Lady Bird are in the White House, Meet the Beatles is on everyone's turntable, and Felix Funicello (distant cousin of the iconic Annette!) is doing his best to navigate fifth grade - easier said than done when scary movies still give you nightmares and you bear a striking resemblance to a certain adorable cartoon boy.

Back in his beloved fictional town of Three Rivers, Connecticut, with a new cast of endearing characters, Wally Lamb takes his readers straight into the halls of St. Aloysius Gonzaga Parochial School - where Mother Filomina's word is law and goody-two-shoes Rosalie Twerski is sure to be minding everyone's business. But grammar and arithmetic move to the back burner this holiday season with the sudden arrivals of substitute teacher Madame Frechette, straight from Québec, and feisty Russian student Zhenya Kabakova. While Felix learns the meaning of French kissing, cultural misunderstanding, and tableaux vivants, Wishin' and Hopin' barrels toward one outrageous Christmas.

From the Funicello family's bus-station lunch counter to the elementary school playground (with an uproarious stop at the Pillsbury Bake-Off), Wishin' and Hopin' is a vivid slice of 1960s life, a wise and witty holiday tale that celebrates where we've been - and how far we've come."


  1. I love Wally Lamb also, but was not aware of this book. It sounds delightful.

    1. I hadn't been aware of it, either. Glad I found it. It is a really nice one.