Reader reviews for Wringer

Although this book is obviously created by a great author (great descriptions of situations), the plot is strange. But the way the author puts you in the same kind of situation 9 and 10 year old boys are in and explains the emotions so in depth that you feel the same, you can't help but enjoy the content even if the story is pretty unique.
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Brilliant! One of the best children's novels ever.
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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!!!
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This is a very powerful book for both adults and children. It is a tremendous piece of children's literature.
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Palmer LaRue is supposed to become a pigeon wringer when he turns ten like every other boy in his town, but when a pigeon shows up at his bedroom window, he changes how things work in his town. Palmer is very easy for young people to associate with, as he gets picked on a lot and is unsure of his future. The setting is not determined, which makes it more applicable to the average youth. The theme is to not be afraid of being different, and you can control your future. Spinelli's style is accurate to the situation and the readers. I would include this in my collection.
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The portrayal of bullying in this story rang true for me - it reminded me of the gangs of girls that plagued my schoolyard. But there was a vague air of unreality about the story - possibly because my rose-coloured eyeballs had trouble imagining a town that would so actively support the violence of the pigeon shooting day.
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I would classify this as realistic fiction. It is about a society that could exist, in which their sport is shooting pigeons on a festival day. I don’t know of any society like this in real life, but the concept is not completely unbelievable and the characters are relatable. Students will be able to relate to feeling lonely and being bullied and wanting to be accepted in their culture.Age Appropriateness: MiddleMedia: N/A
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Palmer is not looking forward to his 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. He is squemish at the thought of killing a wounded pigeon in the first place, but after he rescues a stray one and keeps it as a pet, he doesn't know what to do. Should he bow to peer pressure or stand up for what he believes is right?The whole concept of this book just seemed kind of icky to me. I'm not a fan of Lord of the Flies, either. I much preferred Stargirl and its sequel, Love Stargirl.
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This troubling story about meanness, peer pressure and living up to others' expectations might be well-received by many boys. I, myself, did not like it that much. Poor pigeons!
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This book tells the story of Palmer, a boy who must decide to succumb to peer pressure or stand up for what he believes in. I'm pretty sure I read this book in elementary school, but I think the ideas could also translate to high school. What high schooler hasn't felt peer pressure? There could be many discussions about peer pressure in general and what to do when it happens. I think it would be a good conversation starter, even if we weren't necessarily talking about the details of the book.
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