I’ve heard about this book for years and always avoided reading it since I am not a fan of war novels.
Turns out it isn’t about a war, at least not outright. The Wednesday Wars is set in 1967, and the Vietnam War is going on in the background. While the war does affect some of the characters, it is mostly setting (and a darn fine job of it). The real story is about the misadventures of Holling Hoodhood. This unfortunate boy is convinced his teacher, Mrs. Baker, hates him. Even more unfortunate for Holling, he is now the only kid in class who isn’t Catholic or Jewish, both of which leave school for religious studies once a week. Holling is left alone with Mrs. Baker on Wednesday afternoons, trying to prove he isn’t a complete screwup.
There is a great comedic edge to Holling. You can't help but pull for a guy riding public transportation wearing yellow tights with feathers on his butt or being chased by huge, yellow toothed rats.