Be glad in the Lord and rejoice! Psalm 32:11

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Wishin' And Hopin': A Christmas Story by Wally Lamb

I've got my tree up ...well, trees! And I am wrapping presents and singing Christmas carols! How are your Holiday plans coming along? If you need a book that will lift your spirits and give you a belly laugh or two, look no further than Wally Lamb's "Wishin' and Hopin': A Christmas Story." I absolutely loved this story, and I hope you will too!

Don't forget to leave a comment to be in the running for a pretty nifty Christmas Basket of goodies I'm putting together!

It's 1964, LBJ is in the White House, the Beatles are at the top of the charts, and it’s Christmas-time in Three Rivers, Connecticut. For 10 year old Felix Funicello, life seems pretty good. A fifth grader at St. Aloysius Gonzaga Parochial School, Felix (a distant cousin of Annette Funicello, the movie star) is doing his best to stay out of trouble, but excitement has a way of finding Felix and his family and friends, making everyday a new adventure.

Author Wally Lamb takes his readers back to a kinder, gentler time with his lighthearted new novel, “Wishin’ and Hopin’: A Christmas Story.”

Through Lamb’s delightful storytelling, we meet the Funicello family, a lively Italian-American bunch who run the luncheon counter at the bus station. Momma Funicello is a finalist in the Pillsbury Bake-Off, Pop keeps the customers happy, and sisters Frances and Simone add to the mayhem as only teenaged girls can do.

But it is Felix and his friends who are the stars of this holiday story. And they do what kids do best – have fun, try to get away with anything they can without getting caught, and generally having the time of their lives. When their regular teacher takes ill, Madame Frechette, a sexy bombshell of a substitute teacher from Quebec, takes over the class to the delight of Felix and his classmates, and to the chagrin of teacher’s pet Rosalie. Add the arrival of a new classmate from Russia, Zhenya Kabakova, and suddenly school doesn’t seem quite as boring as it used to. Pretty soon the whole class is speaking French, cussing in Russian, and learning all about the birds and the bees.

Under Madame’s direction, the fifth grade class prepares to present a few tableaux vivants (a living picture) for the upcoming Christmas program. With Felix in a reluctant lead role, and an unexpected famous visitor, the program is like nothing like the school has ever seen before, or probably wants to see again.

Wally Lamb, probably best known for his more serious, adult novels “She’s Come Undone,” and “I Know This Much Is True,” shows his lighter side as he captures a slice of Americana life in this absolutely charming novel. I found myself laughing out loud at more than a few passages, and just truly enjoying the trip back in time.



Anonymous said...

a great post....this book is on my 'wish list'


Janel said...

I have a fifth grader so I can only imagine how much fun this book is! They have some interesting adventures at that age.

....Petty Witter said...

To go back to a kinder, gentler time - something we could all do with, don't you think?

Sheila (Bookjourney) said...

This book looks good! I have done nothing for Christmas yet. Literally nothing. With both boys gone this year I dont even have my tree up and am hoping the youngest will do it next weekend when we get together to celebrate Christmas and my eldest's birthday before he leaves for the Navy next Sunday. I am sure that last state is why I am not really in the Christmas mood... need to work on that. :)

Jennifer said...

I have been trying to win a copy of this book, but it looks as though it is going on my Christmas wish list. Excellent review as always.

Mary said...

I loved this book. Took me right back to my childhood (about the same time as the era in the book). It's a keeper!