VIEWS: 16 PAGES: 2 POSTED ON: 8/16/2012
Wringer by Jerry Spinelli Mrs. Rehrig's Class Review Newbery Medal-winning author Jerry Spinelli tells a story of peer pressure so foul, so horrifying, that Wringer should be shelved along with Robert Cormiers The Chocolate War. Nine-year-old Palmer dreads his upcoming 10th birthday. In his town, when boys are 10 years old they become wringers, the boys who wring the necks of wounded pigeons at the annual Pigeon Day shoot. Palmer is sickened by the whole event. To make matters worse, his new buddies--Beans, Mutto, and Henry--have just discovered that Palmer has been hiding a pet pigeon in his room. What will Palmer do? Will he become a wringer to save face, or will he follow his heart? Wringer will appeal to preteens and younger teens who love to read suspenseful books on their own, but it would also be a good story to read aloud to spark discussion about the perils and nuances of peer pressure. This 1998 Newbery honor book is powerful, poignant and hauntingly beautiful. This is a remarkable story of peer and social pressure, the courage to sort through the quagmire of self doubt until the mud clears and what remains is a crystal clear reflection of self acceptance. Sensitive, animal loving nine year old Palmer LaRue passionately dreads the arrival of his tenth birthday. The rite of passage in his small town is to become a wringer -- a wringer of the necks of pigeons still alive after being shot at by the local townsmen. The annual pigeon day is a huge event and Palmer has a decision to make -- should he become a "man," or should he stand alone and say no. Wanting desperately to belong, Palmer abandons his long-term friendship of a neighborhood girl and initially finds a sense of belonging by becoming a member of the in crowd of male bullies where the rite of acceptance is a birthday brutal punch in the arm for every year. Like a medal of honor, Palmer proudly displays his horrific bruises obtained at the hands of a much larger, older boy. Soon, Palmer realizes that he is uncomfortable with both the peers who emotionally and physically harm and the townspeople who once a year maim and kill 5,000 helpless birds. Spinelli does a masterful job of weaving various emotions swirling inside Palmer, especially as Palmer discovers a pigeon on his windowsill and develops a loving relationship with the animal. Returning to his neighborhood friend, he accepts the softer side of himself and once again embraces his friend Dorothy as together they feed and love the animal at the risk of discovery by the bullies and the townspeople. Parker's mother and father are portrayed in a loving way, and his mother in particular shines like a beacon. This book was particularly powerful because of the way the author used the softness of animals and females to guide Parker in his realization that while it is hard to risk non acceptance, it is harder still to say no to what is good, pure and right. Highly recommended. Five Stars!!! For More 5 Star Customer Reviews and Lowest Price: Wringer by Jerry Spinelli - 5 Star Customer Reviews and Lowest Price!
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