Fifth grader Felix Funicello will never forget the winter of 1964, and this is the story why. During the fall and winter, Felix's mom competes in the national bake-off, his class gets a lay teacher after his nun teacher cracks up one day, and a new student shakes things up in the class.
The book is a nostalgic look at childhood: a time when you pretended to understand all the jokes (but really didn't), when somebody puking was news, and a time when the Christmas pageant was epic. I was surprised by this book because I always think of Wally Lamb's books as serious, with issues. This book, on the other hand, is a lighthearted comedy.
It's not completely unpredictable - if there's a Christmas program at school, something bad's going to happen - but there's a lot more going on that will keep readers guessing. Felix's cringe-worthy antics are well drawn, and incidentally, Lamb did a nice job reading the audiobook version himself.