#883 The Wednesday Wars by Gary D. Schmidt

The Wednesday Wars by Gary D. SchmidtThe Wednesday Wars by Gary D. Schmidt

Holling Hoodhood lives in a town where everyone is either Jewish or Catholic. When they all go to their classes, he’s left alone because he’s not Jewish or Catholic. His teacher, Mrs. Baker, soon starts a special program for him. They read Shakespeare.

Holling’s father is an architect with a bid to design the new middle school, but there is local competition. It’s also the middle of the Vietnam War. Holling’s sister wants to be a flower child who protests the war. Their father is not enthused by this.

As the war rages on, Holling learns what Shakespeare is about. He learns more about himself. He learns that life is full of battles, but that maybe warfare isn’t the way to solve those battles. Best of all, he learns about the basic goodness of people that will shine, if you let it.

What I liked

I did enjoy this book. This was a life of a young person during another war. I, and many others, grew up with war hanging over our heads. In many ways, the atmosphere is similar. We have people we know who went to war. The war has affected our society. Some kids have lived their entire lives with war hanging over their heads. We don’t have the draft right now, which is a huge difference. Nobody we know will be unwillingly snatched up and send to Afghanistan or elsewhere.

Whether we like the idea or not, war does affect young people, even if the war is being fought thousands of miles away. This book is a great example of those effects.

I like Holling. I like Mrs. Baker. I like everyone for the most part. I felt like each character was unique and had their own problems.

What I didn’t like

Holling’s dad seems so rigid. Parents can be like that. Sometimes they’re right. Sometimes they’re wrong. In my life, my mother has specifically said, “Women’s lib is for the birds,” which I certainly don’t believe and it’s certainly not correct. That’s just one example of that rigidity that can do more harm than good. 

I think Holling’s dad is one of those people who is so rigid in his opinions that he hurts other people with them.


Growing up is hard; growing up during a war is harder.

Weigh in

Do you think your growing up experience was influenced by the war?

Have rigid opinions of your parents negatively affected your life?

Lucky Peer-XIII

Lucky Peer-XILucky Peer-XIII

Peer wasn’t quite over his disappointment with the apothecary’s daughter. He played the piano and made up songs. His voice teacher said his songs were good, then they talked about Shakespeare and how wonderful his works were. Then Peer went on to play Hamlet.

Everyone thought he was a wonderful Hamlet. The merchant’s wife praised him and asked him where he got such a talent. Peer said it came from God, and the merchant’s wife told him that theater and God didn’t belong in the same sentence. Peer told her that he disagreed.

The following Sunday Peer was to go to church to make up with the merchant’s wife, but also to see a lovely young woman.


I’m going to go ahead and admit that I don’t know a lot about Shakespeare. I have read some Shakespeare and have endeavored to read more, but it’s not easy to get into. I don’t prefer the flowery language of the Shakespearean sonnets or plays. There is also doubt, there always is, as to whether Shakespeare actually wrote some of the material he claims to have written. Maybe he wrote it all and maybe he didn’t. I don’t honestly care.

On my end, I have to wonder why it’s always Shakespeare. There are other playwrights. There are other poets. What is so amazing about Shakespeare that we have to hold his name in reverence, at least as far as the theater is concerned? I admit, I don’t get it. I just get tired of people in stories, in movies, and in real life talking about how awesome Shakespeare is, when there are other playwrights and poets running around.


The merchant’s wife thinks theater is a base art and therefore God could not possibly be involved. So God gives his blessing on one art form, but not others? People had been letting artists paint their church walls for hundreds of years by this point and said that artists had God-given talents, but a gifted actor did not have a God-given talent? Look, there is a scripture about talents, I forget where, and in what book. The scripture says that everyone is given talents, some a few, and some many. The scriptures also say, in another area, that you’re not supposed to hide your talents.

So if you did have an inherent talent for theater, you’re not supposed to just hide out as a pizza delivery boy; you’re supposed to use it in some capacity.

The attitude of this woman is condescending. She presumes she knows how God works, when none of us do. She thinks theater is too sensational for God to get involved in. Hey, well, art has been pretty sensational in its time. There are naked figures all over the Vatican, but you don’t see the Pope getting up and shouting about it.

In the end, people are given many talents in a variety of areas. If you believe that God gives all things, then God gave you your talent, even if it’s a strange talent. I’m thinking about those people who can turn their eyelids inside out–gross, but God wanted them to be able to do that for some reason, perhaps purely to the amusement of other children.


I think this merchant’s wife is too high and mighty for herself.

Weigh In

Are people like the merchant’s wife correct?

Do you think your favorite actors are blessed with a talent, or have they just worked really, really hard?

Warm Bodies is Romeo and Juliet

warmromeoAs I was watching the movie of Warm Bodies I noticed something. That something was that Warm Bodies was basically Romeo and Juliet, with zombies. We’ll explore a few of the points that make it so. There are a few areas I want to address. These are names and character similarities,  feuding families, dreams, and key scenes.

Oh yeah…


Let’s dig right in with the first category.

Names and Character Similarities

Let’s list the two groups of main characters for each and compare them.

Warm Bodies

R-zombie love lead

Julie-human love lead

M-R’s best guy

Perry-Julie’s former love interest

Nora-Julie’s confidant, wants to be a nurse

Romeo and Juliet

Romeo-human love lead

Juliet-human love lead

Mercutio-Romeo’s best guy

Paris-Juliet’s promised man

Nurse-Juliet’s confidant and is a nurse




So, as you can see, there are a few similarities, primarily first initials.

Let’s start by comparing the two Rs, those would be R and Romeo. The thing is, they both start with R and what do they do? They fall in love with a girl whose name is Julie or Juliet. Both of these Rs are, in fact, attached to someone else before they meet Julie/Juliet. In Rs case he has a zombie wife and zombie kids. He never knows the zombie wife’s name. In Romeo’s case, he fawns over a woman named Rosaline. Rosaline never looks his way at all. In the case of R and his zombie wife, the zombie wife readily cheats on R when he starts dragging Julie around, but I guess that is pretty fair.

Then we have Julie and Juliet. Julie is the daughter of basically the city commander in the city where Julie and some other survivors live. He is very important. His number one enemy are the zombies. Julie actually takes it upon herself to call herself by her mother’s maiden name instead of her father’s name. Her mother’s maiden name is Cabernet. Juliet Capulet, Julie Cabernet, again, with the initials. Julie and Juliet are both a little willful. Both are attached to men before they meet their respective Rs. Julie is dating Perry and Juliet is being engaged to Paris. Both of these men are considered a catch to their respective families.

On to the Ms! M is R’s best friend. They spend time together. They talk about things, sort of. They go hunting together. R knows M’s quirks and M knows R’s quirks. Just like friends should be. In the case of Romeo, he spends his time with Mercutio. They go hang out together. They crash parties together. I think they’re actually related, I’m not ond-hundred percent sure on that answer though. Basically both sets of Ms and Rs are partners in debauchery.

On to the Ps! Perry is Julie’s boyfriend. They’ve been together for a couple of years, but Perry changes. He changes primarily when his father is killed in a construction accident. He actually muses on the fact that in a world full of zombies that his father got killed by something so mundane. He sort of becomes general Gregio’s right-hand man. He almost worships General Gregio, who is also Julie’s father. The same kind of situation is going on over in Romeo and Juliet world with Paris. Paris obviously respects Lord Capulet. He respects his opinions and he respects his family. Paris is also a well-respected member of society in Verona. When he asks for Juliet’s hand in marriage, the family is pretty much like, “Yeah, that’s pretty good.” Nurse even kind of gets the hots for him when talking to Juliet. He gets her fire going if you know what I mean.

On to the Ns! Nora is Julie’s best friend, but it wasn’t always this way. They tell each other everything. They go places together. Where one is, the other follows. Nora, at times, even performs this protective function to Julie. She even helps Julie sneak R into the city and dress him up as a real person. Now to mention the troubled past, Nora actually slept with Perry when she first came to the city, as in, Julie’s boyfriend Perry. Everybody made up though. Oh yeah, Nora wants to be a nurse. Nurse Nora. So let’s look at Nurse in the world of Shakespeare. Nurse takes care of Juliet. They confide in each other. Nurse helps Juliet sneak Romeo into her bedroom so they can have sex. Nurse also gets the hots for Paris.

Those are my character and name comparisons.

Feuding Families

In both cases, Warm Bodies and Romeo and Juliet, the families are basically at war. In Warm Bodies the reason for the war is kind of obvious. If one group of people is trying to eat another group of people they probably are going to be at war. In Romeo and Juliet, the reason the families are feuding is never given. Maybe someone looked at someone else funny one day and that set the whole thing off. I wasn’t there, nobody else was either, because it never happened.

History is full of feuding families. A couple of historical events come to mind that involved families basically at war with one another. I’m thinking firstly of the Hatfields and McCoys and secondly of something like the War of the Roses. In both instances pieces of families were going at it. They were killing each other. It’s the same in both of our stories. Each group killed the heck out of the other group. I do think Romeo’s group of people was a little more civilized than Rs group of people.

Yes, I do think the rest of the airport zombies are R’s family. They do things together. They live together. They eat together. They spend time together. They’re family. Sometimes they even fight with each other, just like a real family.


Dreams are something that are mentioned in both tales. Romeo and Mercutio talk of dreams. A couple of them are even explained as I recall, but I wasn’t paying that much attention. In R and M’s cases, both of them begin to dream. In fact, both tales have mention of dreams in an orchard. There is mention of fruit trees both here and there. R hadn’t dreamt as a zombie, but he learned to dream as he became more human and so did M.

Dreaming is something some scientists consider that sets us apart from animals. We know that some animals dream. I don’t know what of, but we’ve all had a dog who whines in his sleep and acts like he is growling at something. It happens. Sometimes when you have this amazing, or really weird dream, you have to tell your friends. This is what happens in both tales. Both Rs and both Ms have some dreams and they tell each other about it. It’s part of their banter. Besides debauchery, they do actually talk about things.

Key Scenes

There are several scenes that happen in both tales. There is a standoff between the two Ps and the two Ms. There is a balcony scene between the two Rs and Js. There is a suicide scene in both tales. I’ll explain that in a bit. Lastly, there is a subsequent “make up” scene in both tales.

Let’s get to the standoff. The standoff occurs at different points in these two tales. In Romeo and Juliet, the standoff is at the very end. Romeo kills Paris. It’s not any different in Warm Bodies, with the exception of some timing. The standoff in this tale actually happens towards the beginning. It’s something of a catalyst for the rest of the story. R kills Perry. He eats Perry’s brain and tries to take his memories. More importantly, R takes Perry’s woman. This happens in both tales. The two Rs steal the two Ms girls.

Yes, that famous balcony scene exists in both tales. In both tales we find Rs below balconies trying to call up to their beloved Js. Romeo comes to tell Juliet that he loves her. He thinks she’s all that and a bag of chips. R comes to tell Julie that he misses her and maybe also that bonies want to kill everyone. I have no idea who they symbolize in terms of Romeo and Juliet. In both scenes R comes to Js’ bedrooms, which has a balcony for some reason. The Js are spoiled ok? They’re spoiled. I never had a balcony for men to profess their love for me under when I was growing up, not that any men would have been doing that. There probably would have just been some howling dogs or something down there. Both Rs are at their most eloquent moments. R has learned more speech, or rather remembered more speech. He comes to Julie and speaks in complete sentences. Romeo spouts of a bunch of crap about how Juliet is like the morning sun. For the record, I have never heard a teenager talk like that. I don’t think it’s actually possible, but this is Shakespeare we’re talking about. People didn’t talk normally when Shakespeare was around apparently.

Now, the suicide scene. We all know that Romeo and Juliet end up dead because they’re airheads. They kill themselves over puppy love. One chooses a dagger and the other poison. Idiots! Both of them! There are some eloquent words involved in their deaths. They both decide they cannot live without the other. It’s just not possible. There is no way. It’s the same for Warm Bodies, but our two characters actually live. You may be asking how there is a suicide scene if the characters live? Well let me explain…at one point, Julie and R are running away from all the people with guns. They end up on a high wall. They decide to jump. They will not be separated. R uses his half-dead body as a cushion for Julie. They jump off a wall that is like ten stories tall. They should be dead. Their act implies death. Anybody else would be dead, but Rs half dead body made it possible for both of them to live, well, sort of, for R.

Now after the two Rs and two Js commit suicide, sort of, the feuding families make up. They look at their differences and they say, “We’re really not so different.” They decide to get along. They decide to work together to rebuild what they torn down with their feud. The Capulets and Montagues decide to be buddies. The zombies and the people decide to try and help each other live.


This post took a lot of effort, but I think it was worth it. If we can’t see old stories repeated in out modern-day lives, we’re missing out on a lot of experiences. Isaac Marion basically re-wrote Romeo and Juliet with zombies. He re-wrote what some people consider to be the greatest love story of all time. He put a spin on it that would appeal to our youngsters these days. We all know, it’s all about the zombies. I still haven’t figured out why that is. Zombies are pervading our society, not actually pervading it, but in our media, zombies are everywhere. Let’s hope the real thing never comes to town.