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I started this book on January 1st, and as I had the day off, finished it that evening. The following day I made a big deal out of this being the best book I had read this year. Now it is late March and I am reviewing it here, and it still is the best book I read this year. This story was frequently hilarious, and often touching. The characters were wonderful, colourful, amusing and just so real.
The book is essentially a coming of age tale, set against the back drop of an America at war in Vietnam and in the grip of cold war paranoia. Holling Hoodhood is the only Presbyterian child in a class of Catholics and Jews, and thus the only one who does not go off to one kind of religious instruction or another on a Wednesday afternoon. This leads to some quality time with a teacher who, too start with at least, he is quite sure hates him - and who presumably resents the necessity to look after a class of one.
The way the author writes this is just excellent. I could not put the book down. At times I wanted to almost cry with laughter and other times I was deeply moved by this first rate story, which really deserves to be much more widely known.
Called a young adult book, this is a story adults will love too.
Lovely and hilarious and moving. A juvenile fiction novel for the masses...maybe grown-ups especially. A ton of allusions, readers learn about Shakespeare, the Vietnam War, Martin Luther King, the Beatles...and on and on, and ultimately the narrator, a bright young whippersnapper of a teenage boy, becomes a man in the very truest senses...of the head and the heart. I loved this book.