Sunday, January 13, 2013

Book Review: Wishin' and Hopin': A Christmas Story

Wishin' and Hopin': A Christmas Story by Wally Lamb

I fell in love with Wally Lamb's writing with his first novel, She's Come Undone. I had to wait another 6 long, long years before I read another one of his novels. His second novel, I Know This Much is True,  was an equally good book and had me excited to read more (side note: oddly enough I felt more connected the the first book about a woman and her weight struggles; something I've never had. The second book focused on twin boys in which one has paranoid Schizophrenia; something I do have much more exposure too. I'm not sure if it was anything in the writing or the fact that  it was while reading that first book that I fell in love with his writing hard.)

I waited and waited and waited for another novel and then sort of forgot about it. But one day I decided to see if Mr. Lamb had written anything new. Turns out there was a novel from 2008 and one in 2009. Boy, was I behind. I put them on my wish list only to have Wishin' and Hopin' show up as an Amazon deal of the day two days later. Sold!

This book does not disappoint. It's less a story about Christmas and more a story set in 1964 about a young boy named Felix who just happens to have a fairly famous cousin: Annette Funicello. And it's not really so much about Annette either, but about Felix's interpretation of the world around him while attending parochial school. I found the writing easy, the kind that makes you think you are watching this all unfold firsthand and forget you are actually reading a book instead. And it was laugh out loud funny. 

This book was a departure from Lamb's previous books he's written in the sense that it was more comical than serious... and he was able to do that just as well. I'm hesitant to mention this (only because I want to be clear that Wally Lamb's writing stands on it's own), but it reminded me a bit of David Sedaris (also a favorite of mine). Go forth and enjoy.

Grade: A

Books read since the beginning of 2012: 27

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