Friday, June 3, 2011

48HBC: Wednesday Wars

Update: Currently at 7 hrs, 52 min of reading/blogging time and 1 hour, 9 min of networking time, for a total of 9 hrs, 1 min as of 17 hours into my start. (I'm using a stop watch to keep track of my time so a)I don't have to remember when I started/stopped reading and b)because I'm kind of anal like that and want to be exact.) I feel quite accomplished. I'm on my 4th book right now.

My second book for today was The Wednesday Wars by Gary Schmidt because I've been hearing so much talk about Okay for Now by Schmidt and read that one of the characters is originally in The Wednesday Wars. I really like to read previous books about people (when I know about them) before the next book.

This book made me wish I had paid more attention in high school English when teachers talked about themes and symbols and "crap" like that. Now that I'm reading more advanced books, I'd like to understand them as well. If I stop and think about what certain parts of the book mean, I can come up with a meaning, but usually when I ask someone else, they come up with what I think of as a better meaning. There may be no wrong or right (contrary to HS English teachers' beliefs) but some meanings are better than others.

The Wednesday Wars talks a lot about Shakespeare, and I'm sure that the author put in the specific parts and plays to make some type of symbolic connection. It makes the book that much more interesting. I thought this book was powerful because it talks about the Vietnam War and a relationship between authority and students, specifically one teacher - Mrs. Baker - and one student - Holling Hoodhood. She hates his guts at the beginning, as he puts it, but she does warm up to her here and there. Schmidt makes some smart moves in this book by making you think all is "swell" when the next chapter, walls (or the ceiling in this case) come tumbling down. He writes a shocker or two into the book as well.

One main theme of the book is being who you want to be, not what someone else wants you to be. Holling learns this early on through The Merchant of Venice but doesn't apply it until much later. On page 48 he says people trapped a Shakespeare character into being a certain way without allowing him to "be anything except for what he was." This plays into the story within Holling's family throughout the book.

There are many parts I found to be profound and many great Shakespearean lines in this book. I highly recommend it and look forward to Okay for Now.


  1. Wow, I don't think I've heard of The Wednesday Wars, but now I have to find a copy. It sounds amazing! And you have done really well with your reading! I totally crashed. :)

  2. I so loved both of these books!

  3. I've been meaning to read The Wednesday Ways for (literally) years. Thanks for reminding me to put it back on the pile!

  4. We may need to talk, because I read Okay For Now and cannot remember the crossover to Wednesday Wars. I heard that they are parallel stories as opposed to this one being a sequel, but I have only the vaguest recollection of Wednesday Wars. This book focuses on Doug Swieteck and his move to a new town outside of NYC. So I'm assuming that there was a Doug Swieteck in Wednesday Wars.

    I know, it's awful that I can't remember....

  5. Wednesday Wars sounds like a great book. I'll have to make a note of the title. Hope your challenge is going well.

  6. I'm glad I did well enough on the review to make people want to read it! I decided to read Wednesday Wars because I heard of the parallel with Okay for Now, and everyone I talk to says Okay for Now is a really powerful story, it made them cry, they loved it, best book of the year, etc.
    Mother Reader - yes, there is a Doug Swieteck in Wednesday Wars! He is the one who plots all the ways to make teachers' lives miserable, and he's the one whose brother DOES make teachers' lives (and Holling's life) miserable.