Read Wishin' and Hopin' by Wally Lamb Online


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....

Title : Wishin' and Hopin'
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780007351206
Format Type : e-Book
Number of Pages : 567 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Wishin' and Hopin' Reviews

  • Peter Monn
    2019-01-21 11:20

    Omg one of the funniest and most endearing stories. Truly a Christmas classic! My full review will be up on my booktube channel at

  • Sandie
    2019-02-15 15:20

    It must be an age thing but the older I get the more nostalgic I become and the more books like Wally Lamb's Wishin' and Hopin': A Christmas Story appeal to me. This little saga takes the reader back to the 60's when kids were really kids (and not little zombies tied by the "electronic umbilical cord" to either, their cell phone, computer, or i-pod). They went to school, were fearful of their teachers (instead of visa-versa), had no "rights" (except to learn the assigned classroom material) and actually came away from the experience with some knowledge of the "3 R's". We follow Felix Funicello, a wide-eyed 10 year old boy and cousin of Annette, as he experiences the trepidation and wonder of a Catholic school education, the competitive harassment of a "tattle-tale" teachers pet, the deliciously terrifying ordeal of sitting through Hush, Hush Sweet Charlotte (the Bette Davis follow up to "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane) and trying not to show his fright, his mom competing in the Pillsbury Bake off hosted by non other than Ronald Reagan, the annual school pageant and a plethora of other every day happenings that most of us of "a certain age" can fondly recall. I notice that a few reviewers felt the story was a bore. Perhaps this delightful trip down memory lane had to be experienced first hand in order to be appreciated. What we felt were mortifying situations in our youth suddenly become amusing anecdotes as we grow older. Although a complete departure from the tone and subject matter of his other works, Wally Lambs recounting of Felix's life lessons is nevertheless a heartwarming and amusing diversion and well worth the few hours of your time it takes to read.

  • Teresa
    2019-02-08 19:06

    A fun, quick read that was absolutely perfect for my reading capabilities during these last few nights before Christmas. Also a good read for anyone who grew up in the early 60s, especially if they went to a Catholic school back then. Thanks, Cathrine!

  • Mo
    2019-02-19 15:56

    This was absolutely delightful!If you ever went to Catholic school (as I did for 13 years!), enjoyed the movie "A Christmas Story", or laughed til you cried while reading the Christmas pageant scene in "A Prayer for Owen Meany", then this book is for you.This wonderfully nostalgic book was the perfect way to close out my year. Surprisingly, this was only my 2nd book read in 2015 that I deemed worthy of 5***** stars! I knew I was stingy with my 5 stars, but that's just sad.

  • Susan
    2019-02-03 14:22

    I wasn't sure what to expect of this book when I started, but certainly not the story I got. The title describes this as a Christmas story but there was hardly anything 'Christmasy' about it till the last third of the book. I didn't really think it was funny, just one part towards the end. I was given alot of 1960s references - songs, personalities, slang, etc. - almost too much. And the dialogue with the Russian student was just too complicated and time-consuming to read through at times. I thought more of the action would have taken place outside the parochial school but aside from a few short stories, it didn't.In a way this book was too much of too little for me. Kept me reading but after all was said and done I wasn't that impressed with it.

  • Michael
    2019-02-14 18:59

    Nostalgic and sweet visitation of an early 60's childhood from the perspective of 10-year Felix Funicello over one Fall at a parochial school in a small Connecticut town. Your heart goes out to this underdog nerd of a kid as he negotiates the moral certitude of the nuns and priests with the Beatles as a chorus. After a customary birds and bees lesson he just doesn't quite have the story straight. His father leaves the sex education up to chance and his only sources are what he can gather from the lunch counter crowd at the place run by his family and an older friend. Starting from innocent purity, he progresses toward Eros under the influences of more Beatles, posters of his famous third cousin Annette (of Musketeer/Beach Blanket Bingo fame), an earthy new French-Canadian teacher, and a feisty new Russian girl admitted to their 5th grade class. But his rich-girl nemesis and his confession to impure thoughts is touching, but he is heroic enough not to suffer too much from the punishment meted out. There are bullies about, but Felix is learning to outsmart them, enlisting a shield in the form of the Russian girl, who excels in sports to overcome being an outcast due to Cold War prejudices. The biggest challenges to our young hero arise from his contribution to a teacher's nervous breakdown and from a humiliating mistake in distinguishing a dirty joke from a tame one, both occasions promoting some belly laughs on my part. All these forces and characters tat contribute to Felix's coming of age seem universal while lovingly portraying a particular time and place. The convergence of the narrative threads upon the school Christmas pageant makes for delightful final comic bonanza. We all know Felix is going to thrive somehow, and one can't help wondering how much of Wally Lamb's history aligns with this resilient kid.

  • Nannie Bittinger
    2019-02-05 18:54

    This is a most wonderful book...he nailed the Catholic School experience in the 60's but then it could be any school as my husband asked, half way through the audio book: "Who are these people? I don't recognize the names but I feel like I went to school with them!" Everything is wrapped up neatly and completely but no sappiness, just life, funny and touching and real! Read by the author too, and very well done.

  • Ange H
    2019-02-04 16:57

    If you are a Wally Lamb fan - and I don't understand how you could not be - then you know his books are long, intense and kind of dark. Wishin' and Hopin' is a different kind of story, focused on the very likable 10 year old Felix Funicello and his family. They are distantly related to film star Annette Funicello, a fact that they advertise prominently at the lunch counter they run. The main action centers around a Christmas show put on by the Catholic school Felix attends, with much affectionate humor involving the nuns and the other students. Wishin' and Hopin' doesn't stand with his best work, but it was a quick, lighthearted and funny read and I enjoyed seeing this other side of Lamb's amazing talent.

  • Paul Jensen
    2019-02-11 17:14

    Where do I begin? Let's start with: THIS ISN'T A CHRISTMAS BOOK. It's just a fictionalized nostalgic look at a boy's life during the 60's, and a small part of it happens to involve a school Christmas pageant. So if you're expecting some kind of feel-good (or feel-bad, this IS Wally Lamb we're talking about here...) holiday plot (which the COVER OF THE BOOK LEADS YOU TO BELIEVE!) you might be disappointed. But even for a book about a boy's life it falls flat. There are a few smiles along the way (emphasis on "few"), but it's not charming or believable enough to be adored. It's also not hard or revealing enough to make readers reflect or learn about themselves. It's just... a forgettable story. A ridiculous and unnecessary "Epilogue" gives you updates on what happened to every single character, no matter how small their appearance. All I could think while glancing over these final pages was, "I really don't care what 'happened' to these fake characters."

  • Diane
    2019-02-17 13:00

    Well we all know how much I love Wally Lamb. I really, really wanted to love this book. If it is meant to be a Christmas book, it should have some major holiday feel good at the end and it did not. It reminded me of a male Judy Blume book since it is told from the perspective of a 5th grade boy. It was easy to read and the characters were lovable even with their quirkiness and flaws. (but it is my favorite author and it took me almost 2 weeks to read 225 pages..).He has lots of characters and clearly thinks that they are so well developed that the 225 page book requires an epilogue to tell us what they are all doing current day. Characters were pretty good, but not sure all that info was needed and the dates seem way out of whack all the way through the book. He also includes a large acknowledgement section at the end (ok, I admit, I didn't read all of it). He admits that he only started writing this book in January. This might explain some things.

  • Marisa Fields
    2019-02-06 12:06

    This book was a grave disappointment to me. I have enjoyed every Wally Lamb novel and have a certain expectation of depth, mystery and wonderful character development. This book failed in all three categories. I have nothing against a short, quick read, but I still want to be entranced by the story. I not only do not give this book a thumbs up, I give it a giant raspberry as a waste of precious reading time.

  • Jenn(ifer)
    2019-02-05 17:20

    If you're ever looking for a good book to read after you've just finished something really long or intense, this is the book to choose! It's the perfect antidote. I literally laughed out loud, making myself look like a crazy lady giggling to myself on the subway. I highly recommend it!

  • Glenda Ricord
    2019-02-02 16:13

    I liked this little book because it reminded me about a simpler time in America. I never went to catholic school, but my oldest son did and he laughed when I told him several occurrences in the book. The book is an easy read. Just what I needed for the busy holidays.

  • Alison
    2019-02-16 13:10

    This was like a combination of "A Christmas Story" (you know--the one with the leg lamp) and a book I read in about the third grade called "The Worst Christmas Pageant Ever." It's meant to make you feel nostalgic for a different era, and see how much more quirky and loveable people used to be--like nuns, and people who worked at lunch counters or participated in bake-offs. This didn't work for me, but in it's defense, I can say most holiday pieces don't. I did enjoy the ending--it was sweet, unexpected, and packed a message. It wasn't terrible, I just couldn't love it.

  • Ted
    2019-02-04 12:09

    Wally Lamb proves he can be damn funny. This short novel is filled with event after event that will leave you laughing out loud. It is 1964 and Felix Funicello, the distant cousin of Annette, is a Fifth Grader in catholic school. Lamb tells the story through Felix's eyes and if you have ever been a fifth-grade boy you know Lamb just nails this. For you fans of A Christmas Story, there are scenes where Felix out Ralphies Ralphie.

  • Melody
    2019-02-11 12:11

    What a wonderful, poignant, story of life in the early sixties for the Funnicello family and the Catholic school they attended. I'm still laughing about Joseph Cotton's head rolling down the stairs and the "too afraid to go to sleep" Felix. My kids did the same thing to me after watching a half hour of "The Shining". Couldn't go to sleep by themselves for a month! Great book!

  • Kathy (Bermudaonion)
    2019-02-10 15:10

    Felix Funicello’s family owns the lunch counter at the local bus station and their claim to fame is that Annette Funicello is their cousin. Felix is in the fifth grade at St. Aloysius Gonzago Parochial School. At the beginning of the school year Sister Dymphna, his teacher, has a breakdown of sorts and is replaced by a lay teacher, the glamorous Madame Marguerite. The classroom is full of characters typical of an elementary school and the school year progresses much like a normal year – mostly smooth but with a few bumps along the way.That is until Madame suggests her class perform tableaux vivants for their part of the school’s Christmas pageant. It seems that everything that can go wrong does that night for the fifth grade class, but something magical does happen for Felix and his family.I really enjoyed WISHIN' AND HOPIN’ by Wally Lamb. It’s not your traditional, inspirational Christmas story, but boy, is it a lot of fun! For me, it’s in the spirit of A Christmas Story by Jean Shepherd. The characters in the book are so real and Felix is the perfect narrator. He’s sweet and innocent, but sure does hate to admit it, which gets him in trouble a time or two. I laughed out loud quite a few times while I was reading this book.WISHIN' AND HOPIN’ is set during the 1960’s and, even though Felix would have been a few years older than me, I think Wally Lamb did a great job capturing the spirit of the era. Lamb included an epilogue in the back to let readers know how the fictional characters turned out and I thought that added another fun element to the book. Reading WISHIN' AND HOPIN’ would make a great holiday tradition.

  • Steph
    2019-02-03 17:16

    Please don't be fooled by this book's jolly cover and its sub-title, "A Christmas Story." Much like Jean Shepherd's A Christmas Story, Lamb's novel is disappointingly unchristmasy. The final one-third of the book involves a christmas play, but it lacks the nostalgic holiday feel that I was hoping for. The cover and sub-title of Wishin' and Hopin': A Christmas Story make me wonder if christmas is just used as a selling point. People are more apt to buy anything that has a red bow on it, right?

  • Linda
    2019-02-05 18:11

    Probably a 3.5, but my guffaws and laughing out loud tell me to round up. Reading Wally Lamb's Wishin' and Hopin' brought to mind Ralphie Parker in Jean Shephard's The Christmas Story (actually a combination of stories from In God We Trust); Wishin' and Hopin' takes place in the 60s rather than the 50s, same age youngsters, bullies, friendships, life lessons learned, a parochial school and all the memories that will conjure up. It feels as though Lamb is reflecting on memories past rather than a made up tale. Very entertaining.

  • Christelle
    2019-02-21 18:19

    Frais et drôle. Felix et ses amis m'ont fait passer un bon moment en leur compagnie dans les sixties.

  • Penny
    2019-02-17 12:12

    really good for the holiday season and anyone who grew up in the '60s. Also a very quick read.

  • Susan Crowe
    2019-02-11 16:04

    Loved this!!! I laughed the entire time I was listening. Wally Lamb narrates. Highly recommended!

  • Kris - My Novelesque Life
    2019-02-04 17:19

    I have to start off by saying, I am a huge fan of Wally Lamb’s writing! She’s Come Undone is one of my favourite novels, followed closely by This Much Is True . I have read the former book a few times, and twice for the latter, as the next novel would not be published for over a decade. As soon as his third novel, The Hour I First Believed was published I had a hold on it at the library. It is another massive book but I read it within four days. I enjoyed the novel but felt at times it just went on and on for too long. Five years later, We Are Water was published. I would hold out until February 2015, so I could read it with my book club. Unfortunately, this was not the book to introduce to first time readers of Lamb. I read this novel with four days as well and enjoyed it, but this one also went on for too long. With the novella, Wishin’ and Hopin’ and the follow-up novel, I’ll Take you There I was truly at a loss on what I thought of these books. I am hoping by the time I finish this review I will have clear number of stars.8152697WISHIN’ AND HOPIN’ (Felix Funicello: #1) Written by Wally Lamb2009; 268 Pages (Harper Collins)Genre: holidays, historical fiction, humour, fictionRATING: ★★1/2Wishin’ and Hopin’ is more of a novella so it is a quick read. This quirky story is about a fifth grader, Felix Funicello and his family, in the 1960s.First of all, I do not understand why this novella is a “Christmas” story. The only part of the book that deals with Christmas is the towards the end. And, even then I didn’t really get a sense of the “holiday feeling”. There is some humour in this novel which is what really kept me reading the book. I also liked the historical aspects of this novel, but at times it became too cliched. I rated this novella so low because it felt more like a holiday promotional story than with real heart.

  • Pamela Faust
    2019-02-02 18:13

    Felix Funicello is a fifth grade boy, attending Catholic grad school, in 1965. He’s vying for the top spot, in his class, with suckbutt Rosalie Twerski (Turdski) who is forever bringing in extra credit posters and projects that have never been assigned. His best friend, Lonny, is a troublemaker who is doing his best to misinform Felix about the birds and the bees since Felix’s dad is not doing a great job at it (the only advice he gives is not to touch his mouth to a drinking fountain). There is a fascinating new Russian girl in his class who provides amusement for Felix by competing with Rosalie as the top girl. Since he drove his first teacher to a bipolar episode (before that was even considered a thing), the substitute teacher is a beret wearing French Canadian woman who makes French learning a fundamental part of her teaching agenda, to the frustration of the nuns running the school.Felix lives with his father, mother and two older sisters. His father runs a lunch counter at a bus station, his mother is busy dreaming up recipes that will get her on national television (which will result in hilarious and bad things) and his sisters seem to take on the most of the responsibility for running the household. For high school girls, they actually seem like cranky old ladies. His claim to fame is that he has a very famous cousin, Annette Funicello, and her visage is proudly displayed in posters, at the lunch counter. One of the posters provides fodder for an amusing tale of his trip to the confessional caused by his attempt at French kissing one of the posters, based on some of Lonny’s information.The story is set in the months leading up to Christmas where Felix’s teacher is preparing her students to present a tableau vivante (great play) for the Christmas pageant. The weeks of preparation, leading up to the show, bring about some amusing and interesting obstacles, culminating in the inevitable and hysterical chaos of the actual presentation.I was in the mood for a light hearted and innocent tale, and this story worked out just fine. The biggest surprise (to me) was that it could be provided by Wally Lamb. While I consider myself a fan, his stories tend to depress me because the stories his narrators have to tell are usually very dark and disturbing. The voice that he gives them and their humors keep me hanging on, though. Felix hasn’t lived long enough to have any sad stories so the book was successful in being what I needed and leaving me feeling good.

  • Lauri Saplad
    2019-02-02 12:56

    This book is hysterical! A snapshot of America in a more innocent and hopeful time and set at Christmas. What could be better?

  • Pamela
    2019-01-22 18:58

    "Looking like a lovable little cartoon character was a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it made me vulnerable to my sisters' ridicule. On the other hand, my resemblance to Dondi . . . would frequently afford me the presumption of innocence when more often than not, I was guilty."The title, “Wishin’ and Hopin’: A Christmas Story,” is a bit of a misnomer. Yes, it’s a nostalgic coming-of-age tale filled with adolescent longings and antics, musical scores, and culture fads of the sixties. But a Christmas story in the sense of warm-fuzzy reverent goodwill and benevolent joy? Au contraire Pierre. This frolicsome tale is more along the lines of a PG-13 Jean Shepherd “A Christmas Story” with a “Simon Birch” style nativity scene thrown in for added hilarity. All awash in tittering hi-jinks. Funicello and his Catholic school chums are quite the hormones aflutter, bawdy bunch. And Wally Lamb's name word-play is a hoot.Overall, I enjoyed this quick and quirky coming-of-age cameo. Having been born in the sixties I readily identified with much of the atmospheric renderings and the laugh-out-loud school shenanigans. There's nothing better than falling of the sofa laughing with a good book. However, some of the humor was too off-color for my taste and for my remembrance of the times. Then again, my reminiscent sixth grade perspective probably differs greatly from that of a male counterpart. All things considered, three giggle-good stars.

  • Deb
    2019-02-12 19:22

    This is a book that I think only those who lived through the era of the 60s as a child can relate to. I loved this book as many of the events and people Felix mentioned I remember...Annette Funnicello was and still is one of my favorite movie people and was a great role model for those of us growing up during that time and in recent years when she announced she had MS! What a brave, strong lady! I remember going to the St. Brieux theatre to see her movie "Beach Blanket Bingo" with my cousins Joan and Dianne when I was staying with them. I remember the Betty Davis movie "Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte" and the bouncing head of Joseph Cotton (I, like Felix, had nightmares about it!). I remember attending Elementary School where we had nuns as teachers and all the experiences that he described I could relate to! I especially remember in Grade 5 doing a play about the particular St. Ursula...with teacher Sr. Mercedes. This book was a wonderful nostalgic trip back in time for me. I laughed and giggled throughout this book! Thank you Wally Lamb!!! Loved it! And I would read it again!

  • Coco
    2019-02-17 17:20

    First, I must admit, I'm not a Lamb fan. But I was told this book was not his normal fare, so I thought I might like it. I slogged through it, hoping the series of slapped together 1960s vignettes (can you say Pillsbury Bake off and Mickey Mouse Club?) and bits of fifth grade boy humor would pick up, but no such luck. Unlike A Christmas Story, to which I've seen this compared, Lamb's book never captures the feel of the decade. Felix, our young Catholic school hero, reminds me of those kids on the TV sitcoms--they sound like miniature adults, always playing to the camera. There's not much plot to speak of and, unless you really like puke jokes, you might want to pass on this one.

  • Grey853
    2019-01-24 19:14

    I found the book annoying and disappointing. It's marketed as a holiday story, but there's nothing much about Christmas until the end. Part of the problem was the writing style, which was flat with weak attempts at immature humor. The other part is that I just couldn't relate to the main character's memories of his life growing up in a Catholic school system. It just came across as bizarre rather than humorous.

  • JoAnn/QuAppelle
    2019-01-23 15:05

    I got this book and took it back to the library two days later, abandoned. I thought there was finally a Lamb book that I would was short and took place at a time in our history that was near and dear to my heart. Well, it was not to be. The book is a series of "slices of life" vignettes with no discernible plot. Almost like a catalog of 60s references.I did, however, like the green font that was used...unusual.