Wishin' and Hopin'Paperback
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- Publisher: HarperPerennial
- Format: Paperback | 274 pages
- Dimensions: 127mm x 178mm x 20mm | 204g
- Publication date: 2 November 2010
- Publication City/Country: New York, NY
- ISBN 10: 0061941018
- ISBN 13: 9780061941016
- Edition statement: Reprint
- Illustrations note: black & white illustrations
- Sales rank: 70,377
In Wally Lamb's pitch perfect new novel, it is 1964. LBJ and Lady Bird are in theWhite House, Meet the Beatles is on everyone'sturntable, and ten-year-old Felix Funicello(distant cousin of the iconic Annette!) is doinghis best to navigate fifth grade--easier said thandone when scary movies still give you nightmaresand you bear a striking resemblance to a certainadorable cartoon boy. But there are several thingsyoung Felix can depend on: the birds and beesare puzzling, television is magical, and this is oneChristmas he's never going to forget.
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By Nicola Mansfield 11 Dec 2010
Reason for Reading: Every December I drop whatever reading I'm supposed to be doing and read a Christmas book. The paperback of this came out just recently and the advertising made me choose to read it.
I quite enjoyed this nostalgic look back at a year in the 1960's life of a 10 year-old Catholic school boy. The narrator takes us back to that fifth grade year and reminisces about his family and especially his friends and days at the parochial school. Obviously, I'm always attracted to a book with a Catholic theme (I'm Catholic) and I enjoyed the portrayal which allows Catholics to laugh at themselves and also to see the differences in communication between the religious and the lay from then to now. Felix Funicello, the narrator, is a third cousin to the famous Annette and he regales us with the shenanigans that he and his friend got up to at school and out of school, the various personalities in the classroom especially the stuck-up smartest girl in the class, the new Russian girl who arrives after classes have started (is she a Communist spy?) and the stories of his family including his mother's TV appearance on the Pillsbury Dough Bake-Off Competition. I found the stories nostalgic, amusing and fun, though not funny. I didn't laugh out loud.
I was quite shocked by the vulgarity of the language that starts very soon into the book. It is not ever present but is quite frequent and not what I had expected to find. Once the shock of 10 year olds being so vulgar was over, it actually didn't bother me that much. But if swearing, dirty jokes and crude references to s*xual acts offends thee, this is not the book for you. The other thing I did not like at all was the Epilogue! It kind of ruined the whole good feelings I had about the book after I read it. It's one of those summaries that tells you where each character is now, or what happened to them. It was quite depressing to read the future lives of these characters, especially the children. I didn't see the point of it. But on a positive note the book ended with Annette Funicello's current situation and how you can make donations to MS Society.
Overall, an enjoyable book. I'm glad I read it but not quite what I thought it would be. I certainly enjoyed the writing style and never having read Lamb before am interested in reading another of his works.
By Lydia Presley 29 Nov 2010
I really wasn't sure how this book would go, as I had two completely different expectations from it. I thought either it would be sappy and sweet, or it would be a book that had me laughing my butt off. Wishin' and Hopin' definitely fulfilled the latter expectation and then some.
Think.. A Christmas Story mixed with the Frank's story of growing up in Catholic Ireland. While Felix, the ten-year-old who is telling his own story, doesn't live in Ireland, he does live in the fantastic world of 1964 US of A - a world where Beetles, Beehive hair-do's, Bandstand, Catholic Schools and Annette Funicello reign.
There are so many priceless moments in this book, and I don't want to ruin them all for you, but I have to say that one of my favorite moments was an appearance made on television (which, according to the epilogue, was based on a real-life moment). I seriously laughed until I cried and everything was written so well I could visualize it happening as I read about it.
I wasn't alive during the 1960's, so this story wasn't a trip down memory lane for me. But I've seen enough movies, read enough stories and talked to my folks about the 60's enough to feel a connection with Felix's story and to appreciate it for what it was - a funny, insightful, nostalgic look at the world through the eyes of a 10 year old. And while things have changed today and classrooms have become completely different, there are still ten year olds out there experiencing the same wonder and living in the same innocence that Felix lived and experienced. That's what made this book such a beautiful start to the Christmas season, reading-wise for me. An innocent, heart-warming story filled with charm, family and life.
"Lamb's rich panoply of details...render this novel first-rate escapism just begging for a comforter and a cup of tea."--Minneapolis Star Tribune