Back in his beloved fictional town of Three Rivers, Connecticut, with a new cast of endearing characters, Wally Lamb takes his listeners 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 Kapakova. 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.
©2009 Wally Lamb; (P)2009 HarperCollins Publishers
"Charming....Full of pop-culture references of the day. This will have broad appeal." (Library Journal)
I was pleasantly surprised by this little book...I haven't read any of Wally Lamb's others. Since I grew up in the same time and vicinity as the narrator, this book rang so true to me. Nothing like growing up Catholic!
I have listened to this twice and bought a copy for my mom and aunt to read because found it so funny. I can't listen to it in public-- people look at me like I'm crazy because I laugh out loud. I love Felix and this great Christmas story!
This is truly a fun and nostalgic look back at 1964 with a parochial school and it's preparations for Christmas through the eyes of a fifth grader, Felix Funicello. The descriptions of the school pageant makes this book a complete winner in and of itself!!
Felix is the narrator in this cleverly written look at life through the eyes of a spunky, but not completely understanding boy who shares 'all' about his life at home and at school. He's also a distant cousin of Disney's early icon, Anette Funicello, which plays well into the story too!
Every character adds to the poienency and hilarity of this coming of age story. From the modern Quebec 'French' substitute teacher for the mentally disturbed nun, to the new Russian girl who competes with the classes' 'little Miss Suck-up', to the sexually advanced boy, to Felix's family who are so completely nostalgic of every small 1960's family, this book will remind every reader of the 'good old days'.
Even the 'expected' epilogue is tremendous for it's look at how people grow and change!! A thoroughly enjoyable book that I'm very glad I read!!
There are some scenes in this book that had my son and I crying they were so funny. A really fun read enjoy.
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Are you sure this didn't happen at St. Xavier's in Spokane Washington? I relived so many moments of my childhood through this wonderful story that I found myself stopping and wondering if this guy was a classmate of mine! Anyone who attended a parochial school in the 60s MUST buy this book ~ especially during the holiday season! Wally Lamb not only wrote an amazing book, he narrates it to perfection. Thank you for giving me 4 hours of pure joy!
I've listened to this several years at Christmas. It is just so funny, realistic and nostalgic all at the same time. I've gotten way more than my credit's worth on this one!
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I really enjoyed this book. The narrator did a great job with all the character voices. The holiday tie-in is nice, but I think readers might enjoy this story at any time of the year. It's funny and well written. I found myself hoping for the best, even though the mishaps kept coming. Many will be able to identify with the struggles of growing up.
I grew up in the same era as this author. As much as most of us love relivng the good ol' days, this was not what I would have imagined. It was downright boring. The first time this naive little boy did not understand a dirty joke, it was cute and funny. But by the third time it was mentioned, one could have more than predicted the outcome. That is as good as it got, sadly.
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