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Wishin' and Hopin'

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Overview

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...

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Wishin' and Hopin': A Christmas Story

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Overview

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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Editorial Reviews

Houston Chronicle
“Lamb is a very good writer, and Wishin’ and Hopin’ is a charming read with a genuinely funny ending.”
St. Petersburg Times
“Lamb gets Felix’s voice just right, and he does a spot-on job of evoking the special joys and trials of parochial school in the ‘60’s”
Minneapolis Star Tribune
“Lamb’s rich panoply of details...render this novel first-rate escapism just begging for a comforter and a cup of tea.”
Kansas City Star
“Warmly, sweetly retro”
BookPage
We might as well call Wally Lamb the man with the golden pen...[Wishin’ and Hopin’] will leave you laughing and thinking nostalgically about your own school days and holidays past”
Miami Herald
“Lamb’s vividly detailed portrait of the 1960’s and the inner workings of a Catholic schoolboy’s mind puts his first Christmas book on par with his previous three novels.”
USA Today
“Lamb...proves he can be short, sweet and funny”
Body and Soul
“Wishin’ and Hopin’ from Wally Lamb reminds us of what innocence was like.”
Washington Post
“In the hands of Wally Lamb, what emerges isn’t an apology but a celebration of life...Felix makes a hilarious guide through a story that whirs right along.”
Hartford Books Examiner
“Both heartwarming and laugh-out-loud funny…a cast of characters that are both uproarious and unforgettable…a poignant reminder that family and friends are the greatest gift of all.”
Columbus Dispatch
“Humorous and heartwarming…clever and well-written…A fun trip down memory lane from a skilled writer. The stocking stuffer might just become a cherished possession.”
USA Today
“Lamb...proves he can be short, sweet and funny”
Body and Soul
“Wishin’ and Hopin’ from Wally Lamb reminds us of what innocence was like.”
St. Petersburg Times
“Lamb gets Felix’s voice just right, and he does a spot-on job of evoking the special joys and trials of parochial school in the ‘60’s”
Hartford Books Examiner
“Both heartwarming and laugh-out-loud funny…a cast of characters that are both uproarious and unforgettable…a poignant reminder that family and friends are the greatest gift of all.”
Washington Post
“In the hands of Wally Lamb, what emerges isn’t an apology but a celebration of life...Felix makes a hilarious guide through a story that whirs right along.”
Minneapolis Star Tribune
“Lamb’s rich panoply of details...render this novel first-rate escapism just begging for a comforter and a cup of tea.”
Kansas City Star
“Warmly, sweetly retro”
Columbus Dispatch
“Humorous and heartwarming…clever and well-written…A fun trip down memory lane from a skilled writer. The stocking stuffer might just become a cherished possession.”
BookPage
We might as well call Wally Lamb the man with the golden pen...[Wishin’ and Hopin’] will leave you laughing and thinking nostalgically about your own school days and holidays past”
Houston Chronicle
“Lamb is a very good writer, and Wishin’ and Hopin’ is a charming read with a genuinely funny ending.”
Miami Herald
“Lamb’s vividly detailed portrait of the 1960’s and the inner workings of a Catholic schoolboy’s mind puts his first Christmas book on par with his previous three novels.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061941016
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 11/2/2010
  • Pages: 274
  • Sales rank: 30,341
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 7.00 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Wally Lamb

Wally Lamb is the author of four previous novels, including the New York Times and national bestseller The Hour I First Believed and Wishin' and Hopin', a bestselling novella. His first two works of fiction, She's Come Undone and I Know This Much Is True, were both number-one New York Times bestsellers and Oprah's Book Club selections. He lives in Connecticut with his wife, Christine. The Lambs are the parents of three sons.

Biography

The desire to write fiction hit Wally Lamb comparatively late in life. He was in his 30s, living in Connecticut, working as a high school English teacher, and relishing his role as a brand new father, when he began his first story. As he worked his way through several drafts, he was suddenly struck by how little he knew of the writer's craft. Determined to improve his skills, he enrolled in the M.F.A. program at Vermont College.

Lamb blossomed at Vermont, where he learned two important and liberating lessons from his teacher and mentor Gladys Swann: (1.) Never write with a particular audience in mind; write for yourself, and let the audience find you. (2.) There's no such thing as an original story; the writer's job is to recast a familiar tale in his or her own way. Acting on Swann's advice, he immersed himself in mythology and reread the works of Joseph Campbell and Heinrich Zimmer.

In 1992, eight years after completing graduate school, Lamb published his first novel. The story of a tremendously overweight woman who triumphs over a lifetime of misery, pain, and abuse, She's Come Undone became a surprise bestseller, and several publications, including The New York Times, placed it on their year-end "best of" lists. Then, in 1997, kingmaker Oprah Winfrey selected it for her prestigious Book Club, catapulting Lamb into the literary limelight.

By the time he received Oprah's endorsement, Lamb was nearly finished with his second novel. Published in 1998, I Know This Much Is True garnered rave reviews for its sensitive portrayal of twin brothers, one of whom suffers from paranoid schizophrenia. To Lamb's surprise, Oprah beckoned a second time, praising his sophomore effort with these admiring words: "It's not just a book, it's a life experience."

Lamb is tremendously grateful for the boost the Oprah experience has given his career. "It opened me up to so many more millions of readers I might not have had," he told USA Today, "but it's also a double-edged sword." At best a painstakingly slow writer, he found himself crippled by writer's block, choking on the pressure to produce a worthy third novel. "I had all those Oprah readers with their expectations in my writing room. I had to open my office door and shoo everybody's expectations out of there." The process took nearly a decade, but finally, in 2008, Lamb published The Hour I First Believed, an ambitious epic that touches on a rich ragout of sociopolitical themes, including the Columbine killings, Hurricane Katrina, and the Iraq War.

In addition to his own work, Lamb has edited two bestselling anthologies of writing authored by inmates at York Correctional Institute, the maximum security women's prison in Niantic, Connecticut, where he began teaching in 1999. Lamb speaks lovingly of his students, some of whom have evolved into wonderful writers. The first anthology, Couldn't Keep It to Myself: Testimonies from Our Imprisoned Sisters, was published in 2003 to great critical acclaim and earned for one of the inmates the PEN/Newman's Own First Amendment Award. It also became the center of legal controversy. Following publication, the State of Connecticut attempted to sue the women authors -- not for the modest earnings the book would net them after they left prison, but for the entire cost of their incarceration: $117 a day! The suit was settled, thanks to the intervention of sympathetic officials, legislators, and journalists. In 2007, Lamb published I'll Fly Away, a second anthology of the York inmates' writing.

Good To Know

Raised in a blue-collar corner of Connecticut, Lamb grew up in the looming shadow of Norwich State Hospital, a sprawling facility for the mentally ill. Now closed, the institution played a part in Lamb's family history. As an adult, Lamb learned that the grandfather he had never known had been locked up in the hospital for a violent attack on his wife. He later discovered that his grandfather had died of brain cancer and wondered if illness had provoked the violence. Unsurprisingly, the themes of incarceration and mental illness play important roles in his stories.

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    1. Hometown:
      Willimantic, Connecticut
    1. Date of Birth:
      October 17, 1950
    2. Place of Birth:
      Norwich, Connecticut
    1. Education:
      B.A. in Education, University of Connecticut, 1972; M.A. in Education, 1977; M.F.A. in Writing, Vermont College, 1984

Read an Excerpt

Wishin' and Hopin'

A Novel
By Wally Lamb

Harper Perennial

Copyright © 2010 Wally Lamb
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780061941016


Chapter One

Flight
The year I was a fifth grade student at St.
Aloysius Gonzaga Parochial School, our
teacher, Sister Dymphna, had a nervous
breakdown in front of our class. To this day I can
hear Sister's screams and see her flailing attempts to
shoo away the circling Prince of Darkness. I am,
today, what most people would consider a responsible
citizen. I have an advanced degree in Film Studies, a
tenured professorship, and an Eco- friendly Prius. I
vote, volunteer at the soup kitchen, compost, floss.
A divorced dad, I remain on good terms with my
ex- wife and have a close and loving relationship with
our twenty-six-year old daughter. That said, my
conscience and I have unfinished business. What follows
is both my confession and my act of contrition. Forgive
me, reader, for I have sinned. It was I who, on
that long ago day, triggered Sister's meltdown. For
this and all the sins of my past life, I am heartily
sorry.

Lyndon Johnson was president back then, Cassius
Clay was the heavyweight champ, and John,
Paul, George, and Ringo were newly famous. Our
family had a claim to fame, too. Well, two claims,
actually. No, three. My mother had recently been notified
that her recipe, "Shepherd's Pie Italian," had catapulted
her into the finals of that year's Pillsbury Bake-Off
in the "main meal" category and she was going
to be on television. I was going to be on TV, too—
a guest, along with my fellow Junior Midshipmen
on a local program, Channel 3's The Ranger Andy
Show. So there were those two things, plus the fact
that our third cousin on my father's side was a
celebrity.

At the lunch counter my family ran inside the
New London bus station, we displayed three posters
of our famous relative that if, say, you were a customer
enjoying your jelly doughnut or your baked
Virginia ham on rye, you could, by swiveling your
stool from left to right, follow the arc of our cousin's
career. The black and white poster on the wall behind
the cash register showed her in mouse ears and
a short sleeved sweater, the letters A-N- N-E- T-T- E
spelled out across her flat front. In the poster taped
to the front of the Frigidaire, she'd acquired secondary
sex characteristics and moved on from TV to the
movies, specifically Walt Disney's The Shaggy Dog, in
which she had third billing behind Fred MacMurray
and a half-human, half-canine Tommy Kirk. Poster
number three, positioned over the fryolator and polka
dotted with grease spots, depicted our cousin in
living color. Transistor radio to her ear, she wore a tower
of teased hair and a white two piece bathing suit,
the top of which played peek-a-boo with what our dishwasher and
part time grill cook, Chino Molinaro, referred to as her "bodacious bazoom-booms."
Alongside Frankie Avalon, Annette had by
then become the lead actress of such films as Beach
Blanket Bingo and How to Stuff a Wild Bikini, her celluloid
star having ascended as her bra cup size worked its
way through the alphabet. That's something that is
much clearer to me today than it was when I was in
fifth grade. Still, even back then, poster number
three had already begun to set something a twitch in
me, south of my navel and north of my knees.
I'm not making excuses here, but Sister Dymphna's
emotional state was already fragile before that
October afternoon, a scant six or seven weeks into
the 1964– 65 school year. My older sisters, Simone
and Frances, had both survived tours of duty with
"Dymphie," who, faculty wise, was widely recognized
as St. Aloysius G's weakest link. In Simone's
year, she had yanked a kid's glasses off his face and
snapped them in half. In Frances's year, she had
turned her chair from her students to the blackboard
and, elbows against the chalk tray, indulged
in a crying jag that lasted all the way to the three
o'clock bell. (Frances, who would later become a
teacher, took it upon herself to stand and announce
to her peers, "Class dismissed!") Sister Dymphna was
thought of as moody rather than mentally ill—
"high strung" during her manic episodes, "down in
the dumps" during her depressive ones. The latter
mood swing was the preferred one, my sisters had
assured me. When Dymphie got riled up, a heavy
dictionary or a hooked blackboard pointer could
become a dangerous weapon. But when she was
depressed, she'd wheel the projector down from the
office, thread it, and show movies while she sat slack
jawed and slumped at her desk, oblivious to bad
behavior.

On the day Sister went crazy in front of us, she'd
been mopey since morning prayers. We were therefore
watching a double feature: before lunch, The Bells of
St. Mary's with Ingrid Bergman and Bing Crosby in
nun's habit and priest's cassock, and after lunch, The
Miracle of Marcelino, a film about a pious homeless boy
who is adopted by a community of monks. Lonny
Flood and I hatched our plan in the cafeteria during
what I guess you could call intermission.
Not unlike radio's Casey Kasem, Sister Dymphna
rated my classmates and me each week from
first to last based on our grades. She published a list
at the far left of the blackboard and seated us accordingly,
her smartest pupils in the first row from left to
right, the academically middling students in the
middle, and the slowest kids stuck in the back by the
clanging radiators. Rosalie Twerski and I were,
respectively and perennially, numbers one and two.
My friend Lonny Flood usually found himself in the
back row, often next to Franz Duzio. Lonny was
both the tallest kid in our class and the oldest: a
twelve-year-old double detainee whose sideburns and
chin fuzz would become, by Easter vacation, shave
worthy. Conversely, I was the shortest and scrawniest
fifth grader, counting boys and girls— a ten-year-old
who, to my mortification, could have passed for seven.
To make matters worse, with my big black eyes, up slanting eyebrows,
and mop of dark, curly hair, I bore a striking resemblance to Dondi,
the adorable little Italian war orphan in the comic strips. On
numerous occasions when I was down at the lunch
counter, some new arrival would enter the bus depot,
sit at a stool, and stare at me for a few seconds. We
all knew what was coming next. "Say, you know who
that kid kind of looks like?"
"Dondi!" Pop, Ma, Chino, and whichever of my
sisters had drawn waitress duty that day would say it
simultaneously.

Looking like a lovable little cartoon character
was a double edged sword. On the one hand, it made
me vulnerable to my sisters' ridicule. On the other
hand, my resemblance to Dondi— hey, even I had to concede that
I was adorable— would frequently afford me the presumption of innocence
when, more often than not, I was guilty. If, for example, Lonny Flood
and I had stood shoulder to shoulder in some junior police lineup,
I would most likely be the first suspect eliminated and Lonny the one fingered.
"It's him!" the eyewitness might announce, pointing
at Lonny, who kept a foil wrapped Trojan hidden in
the change pocket of his Man from U.N.C.L.E. wallet
and who claimed to know the dirty words of the
song "Louie, Louie."
And who, in fact, had brought the pocketful of BBs to school that day.
Lonny and I conspired over half-pints of fruit punch and the lunch room's
"turkey a la king with savory buttered rice." That said, neither of us had
targeted the winged vermin that, an hour later, would cause such havoc
and send Sister Dymphna on a temporary trip to "the funny farm."
No, our intended victim, whose guts Lonny and I
both hated, was the aforementioned Rosalie Twerski.
Rosalie was pigtailed, hairy legged, and insufferably
obsequious— the kind of kid who, two minutes
before the dismissal bell, might raise her hand
and ask, should the teacher have miraculously forgotten
to assign a page of arithmetic problems or a
dozen Can You Answer These? questions from our
social studies book, "Do we have any homework tonight,
Sister?" As I've mentioned, Rosalie's position
at the top of the academic heap was a virtual lock,
but nevertheless she was forever foraging for extra
credit points she didn't really need. Her family was
rich, or, as my mother used to put it, "la di da." The
Twerskis' house on White Birch Boulevard had columns in front
and a trampoline and a Shetland pony out back.
Instead of clomping off the bus or hoofing it like the rest of us,
Rosalie arrived at school every morning in her mother's maroon
Chrysler Newport. Each year, she returned from Christmas vacation
a week later than the rest of us, with a Florida tan and
a bucket of stinky show-and-tell seashells that we had
to pass from person to person during science. Her
father owned a printing company, Twerski Impressions,
which made Rosalie the recipient of an endless
supply of the cardboard she was forever converting
into the extra credit posters and placards with which
our classroom was festooned. Suck-up that she was,
she specialized in visual aids that lent themselves to
the nuns' two favorite subjects, grammar and
religion. In one such poster, the parts of speech were
anthropomorphized: the active verb did push-ups,
the passive verb sat and snoozed, the interjection
slapped its hands against its cheeks, exclaiming, "Oh!"
In another poster, cartoon letters "A" and "I" held
hands like best friends or boyfriend and girlfriend.
Said letter "A," "When two vowels go a-walking, the
first one usually does the talking." "That's true," letter
"I" agreed. "But remember, it's I before E, except
after C!!"

On our first day in Sister Dymphna's class, Rosalie
had arrived locked and loaded with a poster titled
Mortal Sinners: Burning in Hell or Headed There! Below
the Magic Markered headline, she had scissored and
glued magazine pictures of the damned and, beneath
their images, had identified the transgressions that
had cast them into Satan's lair: Lee Harvey Oswald
and Jack Ruby (murder), Marilyn Monroe (suicide),
Nikita Khrushchev (Communist), Rudi Gernreich
(invented the topless bathing suit). Sister Dymphna
loved Rosalie immediately and installed her as line
leader, office courier, and our class's ambassador
to the diocese-wide United Nations Day. So you
couldn't really blame Lonny and me for putting BBs in our
mouths and straws between our lips that afternoon as Sister,
engulfed by a melancholy so profound that, as The Miracle of
Marcelino unspooled, she did not even register that Pauline Papelbon
was eating State Line potato chips right out of the bag, or
that Monte Montoya and Susan Ekizian were playing
Hangman instead of watching the movie, or that
I had surreptitiously moved my seat to the back of
the room for better positioning. By a prior agreement,
Lonny and I had agreed to aim for the back of
Rosalie's neck.
"Ow! Who did that?" she shouted when Lonny's
very first BB hit its target dead-on. Heads swiveled
from Marcelino to Rosalie, and then to Sister
Dymphna, who seemed not to have heard a thing.
Lonny fired again, but this BB flew past Rosalie's left
shoulder and ricocheted against the blackboard. His
next one whizzed over her head and hit the movie
screen. I somehow managed to inhale my first BB
rather than propelling it forward, but coughed it
right back up again— luckily, since the Heimlich
maneuver had yet to be invented. On the screen,
saintly little Marcelino was weeping for the poor.
With my tongue, I repositioned the regurgitated BB,
took a deep intake of breath, and raised my straw
in preparation of a forward thrust. That's when it
caught my eye: the little black blob nestled against
the left side of the public address box.

Unsure of what I was aiming at, I fired and
missed. Fired again and hit it. It moved. When my
third BB also hit its mark, it emitted a high-pitched
pinging sound. A wing unfolded. My fourth try was
a miss, but my fifth was bull's-eye accurate. The bat
skidded several inches along the wall, flapped its
wings twice, and took flight. It soared from one side
of the classroom to the other and then began circling
the perimeter. It dipped and swooped between
the projector and the screen, its shadow bisecting
Marcelino's face in close-up. Alarmed, my classmates
sprang from their seats, screaming, running for the
door and the cloakroom. Arthur Cote raised the top
of his desk, stuck his head inside, and let the top
bang back down. Rosalie Twerski ripped one of her
posters off the wall and curled it over her head like
a tent.

The commotion awakened Sister Dymphna from
her funk just as the bat zoomed across her field of
vision, did a U-turn, and landed on her desk. The
two faced off for a second or two. Then the bat
opened its mouth, hissed menacingly, and took flight
once more. That was when Sister began screaming
about the devil. I was momentarily taken aback by
this. I'd known that Bela Lugosi, Grandpa Munster,
and other vampires could transform themselves into
bats, but I'd not been aware that the Prince of Darkness
could perform that particular parlor trick, too.
Then I remembered that Sister Dymphna was crazy
and that the bat was probably just a bat.
Her shrieks were high pitched and cringe
inducing, and I watched in horror as her flailing arms
sent her statue of the Blessed Virgin teetering back
and forth on its pedestal, then crashing to the floor
where its head and torso parted company. "Satan, I
rebuke you! Merciful Jesus, save these poor children!"-
To save herself, Sister dropped to the floor
and crawled beneath her desk in an approximation of
the duck-and-cover exercise we had practiced in the
event that those evil atheists, the Soviets, ever dropped
the bomb on the submarine base in nearby Groton—
a despicable act of which, we were assured, Khrushchev
was fully capable.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from Wishin' and Hopin' by Wally Lamb Copyright © 2010 by Wally Lamb. Excerpted by permission of Harper Perennial. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 222 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(80)

4 Star

(64)

3 Star

(42)

2 Star

(20)

1 Star

(16)

Your Rating:

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 222 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 12, 2009

    Run Don't Walk

    When you are reading Wally Lamb's lastest book you will smile all of the time and laugh out loud half of the time. Did you attend Catholic grade school during the 1960's? Then run don't walk to the book store and pick up this delightful Christmas treasure. Wonderful stocking stuffer. Mr. Lamb kept this book under 275 pages. Wally if you read these reviews, please bring us more stories about Felix and his family.

    9 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 19, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    A new Christmas classic!

    It's a charming book. I have always enjoyed Wally Lamb's other books and it was quite refreshing to have something so humorous from him. While I never attended parochial schools, I feel that I know what one is like from the book. It has a real charm about it and will become one of my annual Christmas traditions. Happy Holidays Everybody!

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 15, 2009

    Charming and full of the human comedy

    Set in New London, CT in 1964, this story portrays family, from the child's viewpoint, at its best -- loving, supportive, and full of hope. Wally Lamb captures and seamlessly presents the reality of a more innocent time and warms our hearts with laughter and appreciation in the process. A wonderful book.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 28, 2011

    Fun read!

    If you would like to venture into the world of a fifth grade boy going through his family and school life this is a must read! Wally Lamb captures the mind of child perfectly and hilariously. I giggled out loud on every page, in every chapter! This is a light hearted book I will read over and over again.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 17, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    humorous hysterical historical

    Looking back over years to In December 1964 when Cassius Clay and the Beatles were kings, Felix Funicello, whose family's claim to fame is being a third cousin to Mickey's Annette, attended the St. Aloysius Gonzaga Parochial School in Connecticut. A fifth grader at the time, he, with the help of twice left back Lonny Flood, caused the meltdown (back then we said nervous breakdown) of their teacher Sisters Dymphna. At the time Felix, the smallest child in the fifth grade was going on Ronald Reagan's TV show Ranger Andy as a Junior Midshipmen and his mom was participating in the TV Pillsbury Bake Off show.

    The school is doing a Christmas play production while the newest student is Russian tomboy Zhenya Kabakova who competed with the boys in their sports like dodgeball and "bezbull." All the students assumed she is a Soviet spy. Felix who was ranked as the second best student knew he could never catch the #1 Rosalie Twerski because she worked the teachers. When his mom melted down on TV frightening the host Reagan, Felix vows to save the family honor. Looking like the comic strip character Dondi, he goes on Ranger Andy and tells a dirty joke that turns Reagan's face red. However, it is the shenanigans involving the Christmas play that will go down in parochial school infamy.

    This humorous hysterical historical tale targets two prime groups though other readers will appreciate the pranks too. Young adults will root for the feisty almost famous Felix and nostalgic boomers like me (elementary school student at the time) who know Annette by her first name and remember the Louisville Lip before he became Ali. Wally Lamb provides an engaging look at 1964, a pivotal year in American culture with the British invasion and our first environmentally conscious politician Lady Bird beautifying America. This is a winner.

    Harriet Klausner

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 30, 2012

    Our book group gave "Wishin¿ and Hopin¿" 4.5 stars! Wh

    Our book group gave "Wishin’ and Hopin’" 4.5 stars! What a fun, light quaint read with wonderful "come to life" characters. So many characters in the book are very memorable.
    Those book group members that went to parochial schools truly related to the story's main setting. Lamb gave the group flashbacks to commercials, TV shows...of the mid- sixties. Well written, would recommend! Left us wishin’ and hopin’ for more Wally Lamb!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 9, 2012

    Wally Lamb does it again!

    I loved this book. I had high hopes being that Lamb is one of my favorite authors, and he didn't disappoint! A great read this time of year.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 30, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Life as a 5th grade boy in 1964, fun memories!

    It's 1964, LBJ and Lady Bird are in the White House, Meet the Beatles is on everyone's turntable, and ten-year-old Felix Funicello (distant cousin to Annette!) is doing his best to navigate fifth grade - easier said than done when scary movies still give you nightmares and you bear a striking resemblance to a certain adorable cartoon character boy.

    But there are still several things young Felix can depend on: the birds and the bees are puzzling, television is magical, and this is one Christmas he's never going to forget.

    In Wally Lambs Christmas story, Wishin' and Hopin', we get a birds eye view of the life of Felix Funicello who attends a Catholic school, St. Aloysius Gonzaga Parochial School. He personally feels responsible for one of his teachers, Sister Dymphna, melt down, will always be second to Rosalie Twerski who out does him in everything from making cardboard display boards for Literature and English grammar rules as well as her constant souvenirs from her vacation spots that are shared in Science class and remains number one in the class..

    This at a time when Russians were believed to be communists, his mother is about to be on national TV for the Pillsbury baking contest finals, and he is trying to fit in with the rest of the boys in the fifth grade.

    To read all about Felix's confession, you'll have to check this wonderful book out. I have to warn readers that there is profanity and some strong subject matter when dealing with what 5th grade boys are thinking about during this stage of their life.

    I received this book compliments of TLC Book Tours for my honest review and have to say for the most part I loved it. My hubby and I took turns comparing notes from our childhood to Felix's and some of the things he said were very memorable. I would rate this book a 4 out of 5 stars just for the language and subject matter but otherwise it's a great story.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 7, 2009

    A charmer

    I read this book quickly, as I do all of Mr Lamb's books...I was thrilled to see another book out so soon from him! It was charming, and like all his books, his narrative feels authentic. She's Come Undone has been my favorite book since it was first chosen for Oprah's book club, and I've read them all and love them all. This is a quick, easy, enjoyable read, and I can't wait for the next one!!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 3, 2014

    Get a pink ipad

    Kiss your hand three times and post this at three others book and check under your pillow

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 24, 2014

    Wishin and Hopin was A Great Holiday Read on a Snowbound Day

    Wishin' and Hopin' was a delight. Being Italian, teaching in a Catholic School for seven years and knowing fifth grade students certainly increased my enjoyment of this book however it is not a pre-requisite. The scenes in the Catholic Schools were very realistic as well as the dialogue among the fifth grade children . I laughed out loud when the nuns wimple fell off because when I was young I remember my first glimpse at finding the nun I was so afraid of had a bald head. The scene with the Christmas play was also riotous. A nice light read o a dreary winter afternoon.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 17, 2014

    Just the thing I needed....

    After long and stressful days, a great read to relax and enjoy. Kept me smiling.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 6, 2014

    Laugh out loud funny!

    Easy and fun read for the Holidays! Loved it!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 4, 2014

    ...

    ...

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 24, 2013

    What a wonderful, light, Christmas read!

    I have read and enjoyed two of Wally Lamb's books in the past. While this book was a little different from his normal content, it was a wonderful, amusing, light-hearted read. Even though the book was set in 1964, I couldn't help but see similarities between my own childhood and classmates in the 1980's... Didn't we all have a Rosalie and a Lonnie in our class? I also saw similarities with my son's current 5th grade class. Several times throughout the book I laughed out loud! If you are looking for a light, humorous read, I would definitely recommend this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 22, 2013

    joyce

    This book wil make you smile

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 18, 2013

    Easy reading but very entertaining

    Jpw

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 15, 2013

    Good quick read

    As ususal this author's story provided a wonderfully colorful way for my mind to escape the hurries of everyday life in 2013. Memories of grade school antics, unforgettable teachers, and some of your first friends - Wally Lamb brings them back to life.

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  • Posted January 18, 2013

    Very Entertaining

    A quick read; humerous, & if you went to a parochial school, you will certainly relate. Enjoyable story.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 4, 2013

    recommend

    Having gone to Catholic grade school, I was able to relate to this story. It made me smile alot! It was easy reading and perfect for the holidays.

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