Wishin' and Hopin': A Christmas Story, By Wally Lamb

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The Independent Culture

In this short comic novel, the delights of a 1960s Connecticut Christmas come cutely wrapped in period cheer. Its ten-year-old narrator, Felix Funicello, has many worries on his mind: from misunderstandings about the birds and the bees to his mother's catastrophic appearance on a televised Pillsbury Bake-Off.

At the heart of the drama, however, is the build up to the annual St Aloysius Gonzaga Parochial School Christmas show, in which Felix has been cast as drummer boy in his class's tableau vivant. Lamb sets the tone for a dose of well-crafted mayhem and tomfoolery.