I picked up Wally Lamb’s Wishin’ and Hopin’ at the bookstore the other day, mainly because I’m a big fan of Lamb’s writing (well, except for She Came Undone. That did nothing for me. But I really liked I Know This Much Is True and The Hour I First Believed). I read it on the train up to Amsterdam on Monday, and it was a perfect fit for that occasion. Well, kind of perfect. Because I have to admit I wasn’t paying much attention when I bought it, as I hadn’t realized it was a Christmas story per se. Just check out the two covers: first the one I bought, then the more explicitly Christmas-sy one:
You can see why I didn’t immediatly pick up on the fact. And really, it wasn’t until the end that it stopped being a shortish coming-of-age-novel and became a Christmas story. So although the end didn’t really satisfy me, the whole Christmas thing didn’t detract from the writing at all.
The only side effect the Christmas theme had was to remind me of The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, a book I read as a kid, as soon as I was done. Probably because they’re both Christmas stories set at school, about pageants, and illustrate neatly both how hard it can be a kid (think of the classroom politics!) and how clueless adults can be. I’ll have to hunt down The Best Christmas Pageant Ever and reread it – I hope it’s as silly and good as I remember.