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Wringer Paperback – 3 Mar 2003

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Product details

  • Paperback: 244 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollinsChildren'sBooks; New Ed edition (3 Mar. 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007156014
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007156016
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 19.7 x 1.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,141,524 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


“Deeply felt. Presents a moral question with great care and sensitivity.”
New York Times

“[A] spellbinding story about rites of passage.”
Starred Review/ Publishers’

“As in Maniac Magree, Spinelli invests a realistic story with the intensity of a fable.”
Starred Review The Horn Book

From the Back Cover

For as long as he can remember, Palmer has dreaded his birthdays. On his ninth birthday he has to take The Treatment, to be initiated into the coolest gang in town. On his tenth birthday, he has to become a wringer and finish off the pigeons at the annual pigeon-shoot. But Palmer has to find a way to break this tradition, to stop being afraid and stand up for what he truly believes in.

"In Spinelli's hands, the bizarre never alienates, it fascinates. Wringer closes with physical and emotional bravery which is almost literally breathtaking. Palmer Larue is truly a memorable hero."

"Weird and pacey, this novel is utterly compelling with boy characters who never fail to convince."

"The novel is a brilliant exposition of the way boys subscribe to cruelty in order to belong."
'Sunday Times'

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Customer Reviews

2.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By kduckett@hotmail.com on 6 Dec. 2001
Format: Paperback
This was a school-recommended book for summer holiday reading for my 9 year old. It is delightfully written - both touching and full of humour. Equally as appealing to adults and children. A well deserved award winning book. Its gruesome context should not put you off.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 13 July 2004
Format: Paperback
Only Jerry Spinelli could tell a story like this.
A young boy in an American town where they have an annual pigeon shoot out fest.
But for me, he almost didn't pull it off.
This was a book of two halves.
I found the story slow to develop initially, and harder than I expected to get into with not a huge amount happening in the first fifty pages.
The exploration of why Palmer didn't want to be a wringer was slightly over laboured, and lacking a bit in, well, excitement really.
But as I said, this was a book for me of two halves.
The second half really picks up the pace and builds up the suspense brilliantly making for a much more sastisfying read.
One things for sure, I promise after reading this that you'll think differently about pigeons.
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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 15 May 1999
Format: Paperback
The subject of this book is children wringing the necks of pigeons blasted out of the sky with shotguns. It describes the killing in detail. Other features include children beating up other children, a child warming a dead rodent in a microwave,a gang of boys stalking and cruelly tormenting a girl, and adults turning a blind eye to kids" violence.This is not a Monty Python type of outrageousness.This pretends to be literary- the message being that one child can buck the system. But the horrors are so belaboured and so graphic that any redeeming feature is lost. This book is highly unsuitable for children.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 331 reviews
42 of 46 people found the following review helpful
A powerful coming-of-age story 6 Nov. 2001
By Michael J. Mazza - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Jerry Spinelli's "Wringer" is one of a very special class of books: a novel that is marketed to younger readers, but which also has much to offer adults. This is a powerful and hauntingly beautiful book.
"Wringer" takes place in the rural town of Waymer, a community known for a yearly event: Pigeon Day, during which sharpshooters fire at pigeons as they are released from cages. Those unfortunate birds which fall to the ground wounded, but not killed, have their necks wrung by boys known as "wringers." Traditionally, a Waymer boy becomes a wringer at age ten.
The novel follows the story of a Waymer boy named Palmer who does not want to become a wringer, but faces intense peer pressure to join in the tradition. "Wringer" is an intense study of social pressure, gender roles among children, bullying, and the rationalization of violence. The book also contains a memorable portrait of one very special human-animal "friendship." Palmer is a compelling hero, and Spinelli's stark writing style has a lyrical beauty which reminded me of Ernest Hemingway. Particularly interesting is Spinelli's use of symbolism involving popular culture icons. This is a remarkable novel which I recommend highly to readers of all ages.
21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
Wringer 25 April 2001
By Sarah Horton - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Mills, Claudia. "The Structure of the Moral Dilemma in Shiloh." Children's Literature 1999: 185-196. Spinelli, Jerry. Wringer. New York: HarperCollins, 1997. The novel Wringer tells the story of Palmer LaRue, a young boy who faces a number of crucial decisions. The book takes place within a little over a year. Palmer celebrates his 9th birthday in the first half, then his 10th birthday in the second half. Palmer's group of friends consists of three boys, Beans, Mutto and Henry. The boys' main goal during their childhood is to become a wringer. A wringer is a young boy, 10 years of age, whose job is to break the necks of pigeons who aren't completely shot and killed during the annual pigeon shooting contest in their town. The only problem is that, Palmer dreads his 10th birthday because the last thing he wants is to become a wringer. Throughout the novel, Palmer faces this moral dilemma, and he must decide whether he should please his friends, his parents, society, or himself. Claudia Mills explains this struggle when she comments that; " children are trying to sort through their moral obligations against a background of their parents' beliefs...and transmitted beliefs of their culture"(185). Palmer's gang of friends all desire to be wringers, with the exception of Henry who just plays along so that Beans and Mutto will accept him. Since they constantly put pressure on Palmer to be "cool," Palmer goes along with them to be accepted not only by his friends, but by society as well. The pigeon-shooting contest is a known tradition in the town where Palmer lives and he thinks something is wrong with him since he doesn't like the activity. He exclaims, " I'm going to be ten in 71 days, and then I'm going to have to be a wringer and I don't want to. So what kind of kid am I? Everybody wants to kill pigeons but me. What's the matter with me?" Palmer believes he has the problem, when in actuality he is acting on his conscience and what he believes is morally right. According to Palmer, killing pigeons is wrong because there is no reason for it. When his younger friend Dorothy asks him why people kill pigeons, he simply says, "He was born a pigeon"(185). With this comment Palmer is reinstating the fact that the killing of the pigeons is done for no good reason at all. The townspeople support the shootings because it brings money to their park facilities. However, Mills writes that in the novel Shiloh, Marty's character "claims that it is love, not money, that should establish relation of belonging"(192). This theory also holds true in Wringer, because Palmer's love for Nipper, his pet pigeon, he believes is a much stronger force than the town park money problem. Throughout the story, Palmer continually struggles with what his dad thinks of him. Palmer's dad won the "sharp-shooter" award one year at the pigeon shootings, and Palmer believes that his dad will be disappointed in him if he tells his dad how he really feels. Later on in the story, Palmer is relieved to find out that his dad really didn't plan on pressuring Palmer into anything he didn't want to do. This realization makes Palmer much happier toward the end of the novel, and with his parents around to support him, he doesn't feel as insecure about his feelings anymore. Palmer LaRue, the main character in Wringer, struggles with moral dilemmas: he desires to please his family, friends and town, but he also wants to do what he feels is right. As the novel progresses, Palmer feels more strongly about his ideas; and at the conclusion of the story, he knows his decision is the right one for him.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
MY FAVORITE BOOK! 25 Jun. 2004
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This book is one of the best books ever written, definetely one of Jerry Spinelli's best books. It is such a great book to do a book report on, or read out loud in class! It made me laugh, cry, and sometimes both at the same time :-)! My favorite part? DEFINETELY THE ENDING. Please note: do not skip to the ending otherwise it will spoil it for you. Some people get confused in the beginning but, THINK AGAIN. I noticed some of the reviewers were complaining about it being "hard to understand".If you are thinking that, it's really easy to understand. The only thing Spinelli is doing is comparing Palmer's tenth birthday to an actual living thing, which is very clever in my opinion. I don't think there are too many gory parts, it's mostly about Palmer's forbidden pet and how Palmer tries to fit in with a group of boys, doing crazy things just to be with them. I would recommend this book to ANYBODY. I did not expect such a wonderful book when i bought it. Thank you, Jerry Spinelli, for giving me such a wonderful reading expierience!!!:-)READ THIS BOOK NOW! IT'S A DEFINITE READ FOR SPRING, SUMMER, FALL OR/AND WINTER. I'm already reading it for the 8th time, you'll love it!
15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Wringer 4 July 2000
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Wringer is a great book for the upper elementary student. It is about a boy named Palmer who faces many real challenges is his life. He is dreading the day of his tenth birthday because that is the day he will become a wringer. In the town that he lives in they have an annual pigoen shooting day. Boys ten and up must run out onto the field and wring the necks of the wounded pigeons. Palmer thinks this is terrible and he doesn't think that he can be a part of this tradition. During the time before his birthday he gets invovled with a gang. This gang pressures him into things he doesn't want to do. It is an excellent story of peer pressure. Then one day a pigeon comes to his window and ends up being his house pet. This has to be kept secret from his friends or they might kill the pigeon. He confides in his neighbor Dorothy, who helps him keep his secret. Palmer's birthday is fast approaching and he must make a decision. A decision to follow the crowd or do what he feels is right in his heart. A great story of a boy's inner struggles to do the right thing.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Defying the Town's Tradtiion of Cruelty 23 Feb. 2003
By Plume45 - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Poor Palmer is absolutely wretched--struggling in vain to delay the inevitable arrival of his 9th and later his 10th birthdays--ages which serve as rites of passage in his small town. Since no man--much less a young boy--can forestaill the relentless march of time, it is clear that he is ordained to suffer through both normally happy occasions. The small town of Waymer seems to breed tough kids and callous adults--all hellbent on shooting pigeons at their annual park fundraiser. Fathers desperately want their sons to start as Wringers--boys of 10 who rush onto the field to finish off those pigeons that did not have the courtesy or sense to die right off. Of course the loyal sons covet the Golden Pigeon statuette, which is awarded to the year's best sharpshooter.
In this town some kids practice being bullies as young as age five; sensitive Palmer realizes that he does not fit it with this hoodlum crowd he thinks he admires. He knows in his heart that he has no desire to pretend it's humane to kill the wounded birds. He has no stomach for such wanton brutality, nor admiration the best shots (like his own father). But he is tortured by self doubt and an incredible burden of anxiety as the fatal day approaches.
For Palmer desperately wants to Belong to small gang of rowdies, to have friends, to be respected by the local small fry. It is such an "honor"to receive The Treatment--a birthday ritual of temporary maining and great pain, which is only bestowed on lads deemed worthy by a loner bully. So how does gentle but tormented Palmer wind up with a pet--a pigeon of all animals--just before the great day? A pet which he must keep hidden from his parents
and the creeps he reluctantly calls his friends. How much must he endure and sacrifice in order to preserve his secret pal and protect him from the very real dangers that stalk him--both random and deliberate?
This is an excellent but grim read, as much for adults as for kids. Very disturbing, though, with its warning of mass manipulation, which promote violence and numb society's compassionate instincts. This book encourages kids to confide in their parents and turn to their True friends in time of crisis. The vague ending will you keep guessing in frustration, like THE LADY OR THE TIGER. I challenge all readers to digest this one. Will Palmer be true to his town or to his own conscience?
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