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Loser by Jerry Spinelli
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Apr 23, 2011

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Read in April, 2011 — I own a copy

This book was five starts right up until the end — if you can call it an end.

The narrator follows the story of a young boy from first grade through sixth. Donald Zinkoff has mental and physical challenges, which makes him unlike other kids in class. Yet his naivety blinds him to the fact that he is different or that he seldom has friends.

Zinkoff's enthusiasm is heart-warming, and the way that Spinelli tells of his growing up, one grade at a time, is moving. I cared deeply for Zinkoff. I wasn't sure where the book was going, but if Zinkoff was going to be there, I wanted to be there with him to find out.

But the book ended up going nowhere. I learned a lot about the character, saw him through many ups and downs, but nothing beyond that. There wasn't an overarching story, there were just minor episodes in the boy's life, one after the other after another. Nothing really great or terrible happened in the end. The pages ran out as his life went on as usual. What a disappointing finish.

I wish Spinelli had written more of a plot into an otherwise terrific read.
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message 1: by Jerry (new)

Jerry Cornelious I am finishing this book with my class, and couldn't agree more with you about the ending. I am left wondering what Spinelli was thinking when he decided to write a 12 year old book using Judy Blumish prose, and then tack on an acid trip no ending, for an ending. It just felt weird, and my kids were all staring over their books with this WTF look on their faces!


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