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Extended Audio Sample Wishin’ and Hopin’: A Christmas Story Audiobook, by Wally Lamb Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (5,508 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Wally Lamb Narrator: Wally Lamb Publisher: HarperCollins Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: November 2009 ISBN: 9780061967429
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Back in the beloved fictional town of Three Rivers, Connecticut, Wally Lamb takes his readers straight into the halls of St. Aloysius Gonzaga Parochial School. But grammar and arithmetic move to the back burner this holiday season with the sudden arrivals of substitute teacher Madame Frechette and feisty Russian student Zhenya Kabakova. While Felix learns the meaning of French kissing, cultural misunderstanding, and tableaux vivants, Wishin’ and Hopin’ barrels toward one outrageous Christmas.

A vivid slice of 1960s life, Wishin’ and Hopin’ is a wise and witty holiday tale that celebrates where we’ve been—and how far we’ve come.

Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • “A celebration of life—flawed, goofy, wonderful life…Felix makes a hilarious guide through a story that whirs right along.” 

    Washington Post 

  • “In this short comic novel, the delights of a 1960s Connecticut Christmas come cutely wrapped in period cheer…A dose of well-crafted mayhem and tomfoolery.”

    Independent (London)

  • “Lamb’s rich panoply of details…render this novel first-rate escapism just begging for a comforter and a cup of tea.”  

    Minneapolis Star Tribune

  • “A charmingly nostalgic tale for the holidays…Sweet and old-fashioned, Lamb’s Christmas yarn will appeal to readers wistful for more-innocent days.”

    Booklist

  • A New York Times Bestseller
  • Selected for the December 2009 Indie Next List

Listener Opinions

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Ashley | 2/17/2014

    " Ugh, Wally Lamb! I am so disappointed in you. You have been so esteemed in my mind with masterpieces such as "She's Come Undone" and "I know this much is true." And then you publish two books in less than a year, one about 9/11 and one with a Christmas-y theme. Although I can appreciate the fact that the writing skills are superior and the ability to delve into the human psyche is incredible, this books was a disappointment. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jes Singer | 2/6/2014

    " Solid 3.5 stars - great story. Nostalgia, humor, coming of age in the 60s - what's not to love. Nothing spectacular or too original, but the middle school Catholic school dynamics were delightful - particularly the Russian new girl. I wasn't a Wally Lamb fan but I really liked this book - touching good fun, humor, heartwarming, nice easy holiday read with a bit more depth and better writing than most of that genre other than Dickens. For 2.99 on Kindle a real steal. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Beth Davis | 1/31/2014

    " This is definitely Wally Lamb - light, not at all like his other novels. And personally I like his other writing much more. The story was slightly amusing -- reminiscent of Gene Shepherd's Christmas Story. If you you like that, you'll probably like Wishin' and Hopin' more than I did. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 April | 1/26/2014

    " Fast and fun Christmas read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Heidi Lee | 1/23/2014

    " Humorous adventures of a boy in parochial school. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nina | 1/23/2014

    " Very cute coming of age story. If you are Catholic and went to parochial school, especially in the late 50's or 60's, you will especially identify with the story. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kiswana | 1/20/2014

    " Another interesting read by Wally Lamb. This was actually pretty humorous. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kate Lynaugh poff | 1/16/2014

    " I thought this book was hilarious. Vivid, quirky characters. I could relate with the Catholic school experiences. Fun read overall! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ronya Misleh | 1/13/2014

    " A very quick and witty book. I read it in its entirety during a flight. Lamb is a great storyteller and this made me laugh out loud a lot. The story is told from the perspective of a fifth grade boy and his take on life is just really, really funny. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Catherine | 12/6/2013

    " Definitely not my favorite Wally Lamb, I can't really say much more than that. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Rosebud | 11/7/2013

    " Funny story that included a lot of reminders from my childhood with some of the cultural stuff from that time period. I actually laughed out loud a few times! I love Wally Lamb's books. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Mary Ann | 5/22/2013

    " you must read this at Christmas time. And, it helps if you can relate! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jaymie | 5/13/2013

    " This was a cute book - an easy-to-read, fun book. As the other reviews state, it's very reminiscent of the movie "A Christmas Story" - a look back at a young boy's experience during 5th grade, 1964 in Catholic school. A good book if you're looking for something light. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Eileen | 11/18/2012

    " Cute. It reminded me "A Christmas Story", although really only the end took place at Christmas time. Overall I enjoyed it. A quick, fun read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Cindy Creed | 11/3/2012

    " memoir type novel. very fun read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kenna | 7/10/2012

    " I laughed out loud several times. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lauralee Crain | 6/5/2012

    " One of the better Christmas books out there. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Vicki Robinson | 4/29/2012

    " Wally Lamb cn write for me any day! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Vicki | 12/15/2011

    " A really fun Christmasy book! I loved the format and the characters were so vivid - and fun! Definitely a great read, although I'm glad I went to public school - no pinching! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Michele Minor | 11/2/2011

    " This is a good book that tells about the holidays from a ten year old Catholic School boy. He makes excellent observations about his classmates and he is a mischeivous young man. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Salela | 9/4/2011

    " Fun read, especially for those of us who experienced adolescence in the 60s! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Erin Rushalko | 6/12/2011

    " loved it! love all his stuff.. just a great story with a great ending.. a really good feel good book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jenny Nichol | 6/5/2011

    " Was cute and funny. I love Wally Lamb's writing, but found this story kind of anti-climatic. A cute Christimas time read though...... "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Marisa | 5/19/2011

    " A really sweet book told from the point of view of a kid growing up in the 60's who attendsCatholic school. His innocence is so hilarious and endearing. Oh to be a kid again! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Gretchen | 4/23/2011

    " Funny, laughed so hard! Was in tears it was so funny, short read very good.
    "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lisa | 4/22/2011

    " Cute and sweet but not much substance. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kristen | 3/29/2011

    " this was a quick, enjoyable read - very heartwarming and made me laugh out loud! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ineke | 3/26/2011

    " I'm not a huge Wally Lamb fan, but this was funny and endearing...a few laugh-out-loud scenes. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Diane | 3/17/2011

    " This was cute. It was a reminder of my Catholic school days in the '60's. Wally Lamb doesn't usually write comedy but I found this to be an enjoyable little read. It's no great work of literature but it was fun and easy. Finished it in one day. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Cindy | 3/13/2011

    " Fun, nostalgic, easy read. I enjoyed it! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Erin | 3/11/2011

    " loved it! love all his stuff.. just a great story with a great ending.. a really good feel good book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Michelle | 3/7/2011

    " This is a really quick read. It was precious! I laughed out loud (by myself) several times at this book and found it refreshing next to Wally Lamb's usual wrist-slitting sad books. Very sweet book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Andrea | 2/26/2011

    " I really enjoyed this book set in the 60's. Lamb portrays middle class family life, pop culture and politics of the time period very well. Being a big fan of his I was expecting something else, but I was still happy and thinking he's a clever one! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Heather | 2/26/2011

    " This is an easy quick read. Probably my least favorite of this author. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jacqui | 2/25/2011

    " Not one of my favorites ... very hard for me to get through the book. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Linda | 2/24/2011

    " A lot of good laughs about Catholic schools and the 60's. No deep underlying meaning, just a cute book "

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About the Author
Author Wally Lamb

Wally Lamb is the author of the New York Times and national bestseller The Hour I First Believed, as well as the novels She’s Come Undone and I Know This Much Is True, both #1 New York Times bestsellers and Oprah’s Book Club selections. He lives in Connecticut with his family.