“Think of the sound you make when you let go after holding your breath for a very, very long time. Think of the gladdest sound you know: the sound of dawn on the first day of spring break, the sound of a bottle of Coke opening, the sound of a crowd cheering in your ears because you're coming down to the last part of a race--and you're ahead. Think of the sound of water over stones in a cold stream, and the sound of wind through green trees on a late May afternoon in Central Park. Think of the sound of a bus coming into the station carrying someone you love. Then put all those together.”
After several recommendations to read The Wednesday Wars, her review set me over the edge and I bought a copy at Powell's books in Portland. (my favorite place I went while I was there)
This was a special kind of book, and maybe my favorite since Walk Two Moons. It is young adult fiction which is my favorite genre and not because you don't have to think so hard - which is a misconception about good young adult fiction. I love it because it is unpretentious and it moves fast, and the characters are lovable and believe in the reality of their dreams. Of course that description does not sum up all young adult fiction, but it does sum up the good kind.
This book was emotional for me. I loved Holling so much I wished I could sit down with him and talk about Shakespeare. The book is funny - and it doesn't try too hard, it just is. If you ever thought that Shakespeare was boring, Holling will change your mind. I opened up to my copy of The Tempest after reading this, and was immediately taken back to 6th grade when I was Miranda in my class play, truly believing I was on Broadway and that this performance would be my big break. That is the thing about Y.A.F - it reminds you of who you were. I really liked who I was then and although I like myself now, I think was more lovable as a 6th grader - probably most of us were.
The Wednesday Wars went deeper than most Y.A.F but the tone was still kept light and funny. Schmidt covers war, humiliation, friendship, love, growing up, relationships, etc. in this book that literally took me 5 hours to read - (waiting at the airport, plane, traveling in general). I laughed out loud while reading it, and Kevin would keep asking me to read those parts to him. I sobbed too, on the plane, using the napkin the stewardess gave me as a tissue and burying my face in Kevin's shirt. The best kinds of books will do that to you.
Creatively, The Wednesday Wars inspired me. So simple in its approach, but so meaningful and so beautifully written. As I turned each page, I got so excited to have a child someday who could read this book and experience what I did as I read. There is something so unique about a book that you don't have to analyze too much, but that makes you feel something anyway. I think that even if you are into Safran and Morrison you would love this book. It is beautiful and witty and thoughtful from front to back.
Have you read The Wednesday Wars? What did you think?