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3.64  ·  Rating details ·  13,127 ratings  ·  975 reviews
Sometimes he wished it would come after him, chase him, this thing he did not want to be. But the thing never moved. It merely waited. Waited for him to come to it. In Palmer LaRue's hometown of Waymer, turning ten is the biggest event of a boy's life. It marks the day when a boy is ready to take his place as a wringer at the annual Family Fest. It's an honor and a traditi ...more
Paperback, 240 pages
Published June 1st 2004 by HarperTrophy (first published 1997)
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Popular Answered Questions
Chelsea No, not a horror book. But it definitely has some dark themes and involves killing birds.
Chelsea It covers the timespan from his 9th birthday to just past his 10th birthday. There's a couple brief flashbacks from when he was 4 and 5.

Community Reviews

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Average rating 3.64  · 
Rating details
 ·  13,127 ratings  ·  975 reviews

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Lars Guthrie
May 27, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Maybe my third time for this one, and I've upped my opinion a bit. I had previously found Spinelli's premise a little unrealistic, giving him the opportunity to make some possibly overbearing moral points.

Palmer LaRue dreads his upcoming tenth birthday. He wants to fit in with a small gang of rude boys who bully the girl who is his neighbor and erstwhile friend. On his next birthday he will become a 'wringer,' one of the boys who snaps the necks of wounded birds at Waymer, Pennsylvania's annual
Mar 04, 2009 rated it liked it
This book was unique and captivating. It's definitely intended for younger kids, but it's still good all the same. Similar to another of Jerry Spinelli's books, Stargirl, it tells young readers that they don't have to give in to peer pressure. If they don't feel something is right, they need to voice their opinion. This is an important idea to instill at a young age in preparation for teenage-hood, kids need to know that they don't have to follow the crowd, even if it seems as if they're the onl ...more
Amber Gordon
Sep 21, 2008 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Linda Lipko
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 al
Oct 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: childrens
This is definitely one of the most powerful, emotionally-charged books I've ever read in my entire life.
I'm not even exaggerating - I'm all dead serious - this book kept me on tenterhooks with its potent writing which packs such an incredible, strong punch and various emotions - fear, anxiety, affinity and so many more. Once I picked up the book, I could hardly put it down. This book gripped me right from the beginning and never let me go until the very last page. In all honesty, I have never r
Aug 26, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One thing that Jerry Spinelli really seems to capture well about children—their experience of a larger-than-life world. The ecstasy of a snow day. The stinging annoyance of a neighbor being called a 'friend. The blunt hungry yearning for acceptance.

In Maniac Magee, this hyper-reality took the form of the mythic. In Wringer it's visceral, our protagonist's dread of turning ten:
'In his dreams he looks down to find his hands around the neck of the pigeon. It feels silky. The pigeon's eye is like a polished sh/>'In
Mar 12, 2013 rated it liked it
1998 Newbery Honor Book

I wasn't really sure what this book would be about by the cover. It looked a bit like a horror novel. The inside jacket cover description was even more vague. It sounded more and more like it would be scary. Fortunately, it wasn't.

The main character is Palmer. He turns 9 at the beginning of the book and has been accepted into a gang of boys named Beans, Mutto and Henry. They nickname him Snots. His mother doesn't approve of them. Honestly, they're p
Nov 04, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: humane-education
Despite the fact that it rarely shows up on humane-education lists, if I could suggest only one book promoting humane values, it would be Wringer.

Obviously inspired by the infamous Hegins Pigeon Shoot, Spinelli weaves the story of a young boy who faces an incredible dilemma: will he follow the path of his peers and become a “wringer” of the necks of injured birds at his town’s annual pigeon shoot, or will he stay true to his values and the wayward pigeon he’s adopted as a pet?

The book is t
Luisa Knight
Apr 06, 2017 rated it did not like it

Children's Bad Words
Mild Obscenities & Substitutions - 5 Incidents: dumb, shut up, stupid, phooey
Name Calling - 13 Incidents: dumb, stupid, hoodlums, Fishface (all throughout book), Sissymiss! Girlbaby!, pooper
Religious Profanities - 1 Incident: Gee

Attitudes/Disobedience - 11 Incidents: A boy is a sneak and a troublemaker but a boy befriends him even though his mother doesn’t like it. A group of boys pick on a girl, calling her Fishface,
Devon Skube
Nov 03, 2017 rated it did not like it
it was bad so I abandoned it.
Nov 27, 2016 rated it it was ok
Read only once in my youth: the whole idea of wringing a pigeon's neck as a rite of passage was so far removed from my world that it horrified me...
Mar 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A classmate told me I should read this book and I'm so glad she did! By the looks of it, it isn't a book I would ever pick up, even after reading the back I didn't like it. I started reading it and I loved it. I'm sad that I finished it so quick, I never wanted it to end. Wringer is now one of my favorite books, I want to go back and reread it already!
Aug 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya, family-book-group
My son selected this for Family Book Group. He prefers what he terms "realistic fiction" and Jerry Spinelli is one of his favorite authors.

Like some of his other titles, this one is about finding your true self and identifying your real friends. Palmer's isolation is anguishing - it's very hard for me (as an adult) to read about him running around with his thuggish friends and working so hard to appear to be something he isn't. It was also hard to me to accept that the adults in his

I did not like this book.

1. Bullies - Bean and his crew were disgusting and they never got punished for it.

2. Palmer - He was stressful to read about.

3. Setting - I thought this book was set in the fifties but later uncovered it was actually set in the 90s. What in the world?? That made all the behaviors even less acceptable.

4. The Treatment - Again, why is nobody stopping this?? Where are the adults
Feb 21, 2009 rated it it was ok
I learned that there are things you can't share with people all the time. Even though this would be an issue I can share I found in my own life I have things I can't talk about with anyone because of the way they will think about me...
The cover of this book positively haunted me when I was young but I never took the time to read it. I'm kind of happy I waited until I was older to give it a go... this book is rough and dark, but also disturbingly necessary. After all, I'm only one state away from where pigeon shoots are still legal. And it was only in the 2000s that some of the larger ones came under uncomfortable scrutiny. And wringers are young boys...

The whole notion of this book may seem to many like an odd one. A young boy
Stevie Sullivan
Oct 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Wringer by Jerry Spinelli is a story about a nine year old boy named Palmer LaRue. Palmer is nervous about turning the age of 10 because he will become a wringer. A wringer is a boy that wrings necks of injured pigeons during his towns annual Pigeon Day, where they shoot pigeons. Palmer does not want to become a wringer, but he wants the neighborhood boys to like him. This book is overall pretty good. It used good wording and description, which I really enjoyed. The only thing is that it is easy ...more
Jan 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Subjects like toxic masculinity are barely ever explored in books and I'm so glad this one did, its a really great book by a good author.
Jeannnette Merlos
Sep 20, 2018 rated it liked it
This was a good book. It was suspenseful in some parts and heart warming in others. I didn't expect the book to be about what it was about, but i don't regret it. It was good and I enjoyed it.
Emily Maughan
Apr 04, 2019 rated it liked it
3.5 stars. Quick read for my vacation. I liked it and my daughter just started reading it too.
May 10, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: did-not-finish
A bit too weird for me. Didn’t finish.
Feb 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Mr. Spinelli writes great books!
Mar 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
I thought that it was interesting because of the life chooses Palmer decides to do. I would read this book again.
Michael Hickey
Mar 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 18, 2009 rated it really liked it
Once more, in his characteristic style, Jerry Spinelli shows why he is one of my favorite authors. This inspirational, heartbreaking novel uses a strange approach to celebrate the power of friendship, love, and respect for life.

Palmer is terrified of his tenth birthday. The fateful day when he will be old enough to become a wringer, one of the boys charged with helping out on the day of the city's great Pigeon Day Shoot, breaking the necks of the innocent birds.

Every other boy antic
Jan 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Wringer by Jerry Spinelli
265 pages
realistic fiction

This book is about a boy named Palmer Who has a love for pigeons. On his 10th birthday he became friends with three kids named beans Mutto and Henry. These kids are the normal kids there because they hate pigeons. In his town they have a family fest that has kids having fun with there kids doing fun things and then on the last day there is a day where they shoot and wring pigeons in the neck. Palmer hates this but his friends
Samuel Kammerman
Jan 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I could not put his book down and I truly believe that it deserved that Caldecott Medal. This book was a mesmerizing morality tale about a young boy who goes by the name of Palmer who cannot make sense of it. The book starts off with Palmers upcoming tenth birthday and in his town 10 year old boys turn into wringers. A wringer is someone who break the necks of "wounded pigeons" at the towns Pigeon day shoot. This was not the only big thing that was going to happen to Palmer, when you turn ten yo ...more
Sydney Snyder
Jul 11, 2016 rated it liked it
Before I even started reading this book I had the question what is a wringer. Throughout the book, I found myself asking many questions which, like any good book, were answered and didn't leave me confused. The vocabulary in the book was simple, but the Wringer had a good message. The book was interesting because it is not what I would usually read.

*Spoiler alert*
In the book, Wringer, the main character Palmer starts out by telling the reader that he doesn't want to be a wringer. La
Jun 24, 2015 rated it really liked it
Another beautiful, supremely poignant work from the rich pen of Jerry Spinelli. Here you don't have to be a lover or hater of Spinelli's style as I've commented on before; oh yes, it's still there, and the writing is very poetic with dark undertones, but Maniac Magee and Hokey Pokey seem to have those half-unexplained, almost grim plot devices and flow that seems to repel some people. Wringer has it more so; less so (tough to explain, I know.) But the plot is executed so simply yet so wonderfull ...more
Jolene Munch
Jul 14, 2016 rated it really liked it
To be totally honest when I first saw the book cover I was a bit terrified. This was because I just saw a child's face and in big font was the word Wringer. I didn't know what to expect, so I always read the synopsis at that back of the book. After reading it, it sounded really interesting except, I honestly had no clue what a wringer was! I thought a wringer was a good thing but after reading the first chapter I thought wrong. I've also never heard of the author Jerry Spinelli until this summer ...more
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When Jerry Spinelli was a kid, he wanted to grow up to be either a cowboy or a baseball player. Lucky for us he became a writer instead.

He grew up in rural Pennsylvania and went to college at Gettysburg College and Johns Hopkins University. He has published more than 25 books and has six children and 16 grandchildren.
Jerry Spinelli began writing when he was 16 — not much older th