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The Wednesday Wars Paperback – Print, May 18, 2009
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In this Newbery-Honor winning novel, Gary D. Schmidt offers a wonderfully witty and compelling story about a teenage boy's mishaps and adventures over the course of the 1967amp;mdash;68 school year.
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"But perfect or not, it was hard living in between."
"We read The Merchant of Venice the next Wednesday, too, and finished it on the last Wednesday of October. After we closed our books, Mrs. Baker asked me to discuss the character of Shylock. “He isn’t really a villain,” I said, “is he?” “No,” said Mrs. Baker, “he isn’t.” “He’s more like someone who wants...” “Who wants what, Mr. Hoodhood?” “Someone who wants to become who he’s supposed to be,” I said. Mrs. Baker considered that. “And why couldn’t he?” she asked. “Because they wouldn’t let him. They decided he had to be a certain way, and he was trapped. He couldn’t be anything except for what he was,” I said. “And that is why the play is called a tragedy,” said Mrs. Baker."
"At the happy ending of The Tempest, Prospero brings the king back together with his son, and finds Miranda’s true love, and punishes the bad duke, and frees Ariel, and becomes a duke himself again. Everyone—except for Caliban—is happy, and everyone is forgiven, and everyone is fine, and they all sail away on calm seas. Happy endings. That’s how it is in Shakespeare. But Shakespeare was wrong. Sometimes there isn’t a Prospero to make everything fine again. And sometimes the quality of mercy is strained."
“Shakespeare did not write for your ease of reading,” she said. No kidding, I thought. “He wrote to express something about what it means to be a human being in words more beautiful than had ever yet been written.”Mrs. Baker looked at me for a long moment. Then she went and sat back down at her desk. “That we are made for more than power,” she said softly. “That we are made for more than our desires. That pride combined with stubbornness can be disaster. And that compared with love, malice is a small and petty thing.”
After buying this copy, we listen to it as a family while my 10 year old read along. The 5 year old didn't quite grasp the more serious concepts, but enjoyed it anyway. As for me, it was still entertaining to listen to again. I would recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a quick, fun read or as something that can spark discussions for a book club. I don't think you would be disappointed.
The book is a great book. It is funny and the dialogue flows nicely. It is mostly believable from one who grew up in the time period. It is 1967 and 1968 with several historical events and national tragedies included as background to the storyline. There is a lot of depth to this book including heroes and people with serious character flaws, family dynamics with teenage rebellion and redemption, character growth and triumphs and a bit of Shakespeare to parallel the narrative.
I bought a second copy and gave it as a gift to an adult. I would highly recommend this book.