December 2009 Indie Next List
“Wally Lamb's Wishin' and Hopin' is a sure winner for laughter and fun this holiday season.”
— Margaret, Osondu Booksellers, Waynesville, NC
It's 1964 and ten-year-old Felix is sure of a few things: the birds and the bees are puzzling, television is magical, and this is one Christmas he'll never forget.
LBJ and Lady Bird are in the White House, Meet the Beatles is on everyone's turntable, and Felix Funicello (distant cousin of the iconic 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 boy.
Back in his beloved fictional town of Three Rivers, Connecticut, with a new cast of endearing characters, Wally Lamb takes his readers straight into the halls of St. Aloysius Gonzaga Parochial School—where Mother Filomina's word is law and goody-two-shoes Rosalie Twerski is sure to be minding everyone's business. But grammar and arithmetic move to the back burner this holiday season with the sudden arrivals of substitute teacher Madame Frechette, straight from QuÉbec, and feisty Russian student Zhenya Kabakova. While Felix learns the meaning of French kissing, cultural misunderstanding, and tableaux vivants, Wishin' and Hopin' barrels toward one outrageous Christmas.
From the Funicello family's bus-station lunch counter to the elementary school playground (with an uproarious stop at the Pillsbury Bake-Off), Wishin' and Hopin' is a vivid slice of 1960s life, a wise and witty holiday tale that celebrates where we've been—and how far we've come.
About the Author
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.
“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.”
“Lamb’s rich panoply of details...render this novel first-rate escapism just begging for a comforter and a cup of tea.”
-Minneapolis Star Tribune
“Warmly, sweetly retro”
-Kansas City Star
“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”
-St. Petersburg Times
“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.”
“Lamb...proves he can be short, sweet and funny”
“Wishin’ and Hopin’ from Wally Lamb reminds us of what innocence was like.”
-Body and Soul
“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.”
-Hartford Books Examiner
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”
“Lamb is a very good writer, and Wishin’ and Hopin’ is a charming read with a genuinely funny ending.”
“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.”
“Charming…. Full of pop-culture references of the day…this will have broad appeal.”