" Wishin' and Hopin' "

Wishin' And Hopin' by Wally Lamb

The year is 1964 and Felix Funicello is a ten year old fifth grader living in small town Connecticut. He attends Catholic school where there are lots of rules and kids to break them. His parents operate a lunch counter at the local bus station which brings some interesting characters into his life, and at home he has two older sisters who tolerate him, but just barely.

Felix is like other boys; he has his ups and downs and makes good choices and the other kind. He knows and uses a few bad words, he's learning about things like french kissing and he laughs at dirty jokes even when he doesn't know what they mean.  He's smaller than the other boys his age but on the other hand he has something they don't have: his third cousin is famous actress Annette Funicello, whose posters line the wall at the lunch counter.

The story begins at some point in the fall and leads up to the Christmas Concert at Felix's school. If that sounds a little like "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever" by Barbara Robinson that's because it has a similar story line. In both you get some background on the families and become familiar with the characters, all leading up to the night of the big Christmas concert. This one is a little longer I think so you get to know the characters better and it's funnier too - to me that is, humour is a subjective thing - though both are quite entertaining with some hilarious moments.

A very enjoyable read - just don't share it with your kids as there is a bit of language and a couple of jokes you probably won't want them to learn. Do read it for yourself though. You'll fall in love with Felix and more important at this hectic time of year, it will make you smile.


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