Amber Gordon's Reviews > Wringer

Wringer by Jerry Spinelli
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's review
Sep 22, 08

** spoiler alert ** “Wringer” is a Newberry Honor contemporary fiction novel that would be appropriate for students in upper elementary or middle school. This novel is about the struggles that a young boy, Palmer, faces when he does not agree with an annual event that is held in his town. Palmer lives in a town that has a Pigeon Day, to raise money for the community’s park. Participants in Pigeon Day have the opportunity to shoot pigeons as they are released in groups of five. The “wringers” are ten year old boys who must run onto the field and wring the necks of the birds that were only stunned, not killed, when they were shot out of the sky. He and his friends cause trouble among the town and torment a neighbor girl of Palmer’s named Dorothy. When a pigeon knocks on his window outside his bedroom, Palmer begins feeding the bird and letting it into his room each night. The only person that Palmer believes he can confide in his friend Dorothy as he must hide his new pet “Nipper” from his other friends. Eventually Palmer turns ten and goes to the “training” on how to be a wringer. Palmer becomes determined to protect Nipper and in the end Dorothy releases the pigeon outside the town in order to save his life. Pigeon Day comes and Palmer goes to watch, although he refuses to be a “wringer.” After talking to Dorothy, he eventually figures out that Nipper is probably one of the birds that is going to be released and he is determined to save his pet and take Nipper home with him.

I read the “Wringer” for my banned/challenged book. It has been challenged because of the central theme which is wringing the pigeons’ necks. Although this book has been challenged, I still think that is would be a good novel for students to read. I do not think I would ever teach this novel, have activities over it, or use it in a literature circle, but I see no problem with students being able to check it out from the school library to read on their own time. This book provides readers with some important points. It is about a young boy who does not give into peer pressure and stands up for himself when everyone else is determined to follow the town’s rituals. I think it is important students realize it is alright to stand up for what they believe in if they know what is happening is wrong!

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Flora (Excessive hubris.) But why three stars still?

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