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Clif's Book World

Adventures from reading books captured within short reviews.

The Wednesday Wars - Gary D. Schmidt If a junior high aged boy is part of your household, give him this book. He'll love it, and it will do him good. And if you happen to have been in junior high during the year 1968, this book can serve as a reminder of life (and national politics) at that time. In case you don't remember, 1968 is the year that both Martin Luther King and Robert F. Kennedy were assassinated.

People today worry about the polarization of American politics. Back in the late 60s things were more polarized, and in a much closer to home way at the family level. It seemed as if each American household was polarized with the youth contingent wanting to drop out, grow long hair, and be an anti-Vietnam-war protester and hippie. Meanwhile their parents were going ballistic over how spoiled and degenerate the younger generation was. In this story the junior high boy has a high school aged sister who aspires to be a flower child much to the consternation of her parents.

I was originally attracted to this book because the main character who is a junior high student happens to be attending a school where he is the only student in his class who is not either Jewish or Catholic (his family is Presbyterian). Consequently, when the students leave once per week for released time religious classes, he is the only one left in class. (Do public schools still have released time?) That sounded like an interesting situation to write a story about. At first the teacher was probably just as disappointed as the student of being left together in the class room. But they grew to appreciate each other by the end of the story.