Go Back   Palimpsest > Reviews > Book Reviews

Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 17th Dec 2004, 21:04   #1
is a palimpsestin' fool!
kumquat's Avatar
Join Date: 15 Nov 2004
Location: uk
Posts: 699
Send a message via MSN to kumquat
Default Jerry Spinelli: Loser

Lovely. (If that's not as bad as saying 'nice')The characterisation of the protaganist is so well done. He's a boy we all recognise. A loner, teased, quirky, not very socially aware but ingenuous. You follow him through ?5 grades at school, watch him fail all the sports teams and get the backs up of his fellow students. For years he doesn't seem to realise that he's different from the other kids until he has to write down in class who his best friend is. He chooses someone at random then goes and befriends him. He is rebuffed yet again. Finally he skips school, which he loves, because it's sports day and he can't face the taunts. He ends up at a little old lady's house who makes him a sandwich and he cracks and tells her everything, bawling his eyes out. I got right choked up!! But not at this part! At the school graduation when he's the last one to get his certificate, his sister alone whoops excitedly at the top of her voice for her brother up on the stage. You want to be there to cheer him yourself! He's one of the innocents.
If you read the back cover first, you know the book is leading up to some heroic action by the boy. He nearly kills himself staying out til one in the morning looking for a lost girl in his neighbourhood. The irony is she was found at eight in the evening. He's a hero to his parents and to the girl's family of course.
It was a peculiar ending. I thought, from the back cover, that there would be some resolution at school with the kids who have systematically left him off sports teams and whispered 'loser' behind his back. There isn't. You know he has to go back to school next term and face it all again.
It's true to life. Really poignant.

Aimed at teens.
Reading List | Blog | Film List
kumquat is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 19th Dec 2004, 0:19   #2
laughs in the face of fear
bakunin_the_cat's Avatar
Join Date: 22 Jul 2003
Location: Aston Cantlow
Posts: 926

Maybe it takes one to know one, but I do like stuff about losers and outsiders. I just had a thought that writers (or wannabees) are good at writing this kind of thing because they were always left out in the cold, socially, so they have lots of experience. If you were cool you'd be in there doing whatever it was not writing about it.

On second thoughts, it's probably just me.
bakunin_the_cat is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 19th Dec 2004, 0:55   #3
is beyond help
Colyngbourne's Avatar
Join Date: 30 Apr 2003
Location: England
Posts: 10,739

On third thoughts, it's not just you.
Colyngbourne is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 9th Apr 2012, 13:45   #4
is hanging around suspiciously
Join Date: 6 Dec 2008
Posts: 252
Default Re: Jerry Spinelli: Loser

I read Loser, years ago, on Kumquat's recommendation. I concur. It is a beautifully done book. Deft in all the right places, heart felt in the others.

Odd to report that Maniac Magee, which I have just read, also by Mr Spinelli and covering some similar terrain, is much less interesting. Maniac Magee is a young lad who lost his parents in a slightly absurd locomotive accident, rejected his grandparents, and became a homeless waif who drifted (or rather ran) through the streets of his home town, touching many lives and changing things in many ways. Which sounds like a brilliant book. Only my summary is loads better than Spinelli's extended version, even if I do say so myself. because the version that Spinelli gives us is an incoherent stream of stuff happening, and - WHEEEE!! - more stuff happeneing, and - HEY!! - look out, here's some more stuff happening. There's something about a frog, and a not, and lots of luridly sketched characters, one of whom is called Mars Bar, and there are some bison, or were they yaks, or something, anyway, and an old geezer with a lifetime of disappointments weighing him down, and a sort of Boo Radley character, and pizza, and all sorts of stuff.

None of which adds up to very much in the end, and leaves one with a disquieting sensation of not actually having not actually read the book at all, moments after the final page is finished.
lurgee is offline   Reply With Quote

Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Jerry Springer: The Opera John Self Other Reviews 26 6th Dec 2007 13:41
Robert Cormier: The Chocolate War Colyngbourne Book Reviews 3 26th Apr 2007 22:49

All times are GMT +1. The time now is 16:04.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.