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4/5 (30 valutazioni)
185 pagine
2 ore
Oct 13, 2009


Written by Scribd Editors

In Waymer, a boy's tenth birthday is the day he joins the ranks of the boys and men that came before him and picks up an important job: pigeon wringer. Though he's supposed to look forward to this new responsibility, Palmer LaRue dreads the approach of his upcoming tenth birthday. He thinks he'll just have to get over it, but when a pigeon lands on the windowsill of his bedroom, Palmer recognizes that it's a universal sign that his real responsibility is to stand up for what he believes in.

A powerful telling of a right of passage, author Jerry Spinelli received a Newberry Honor for the devastating and realistic conflict he tasked Palmer with in Wringer. Shunning the violence his peers and parents hope to bestow upon him, Palmer charges forth on his path, blazing a trail for young readers to follow when they need to buck the status quo.

Oct 13, 2009

Informazioni sull'autore

Jerry Spinelli received the Newbery Medal for Maniac Magee and a Newbery Honor for Wringer. His other books include Stargirl; Love, Stargirl; Smiles to Go; Loser; Jake and Lily; Hokey Pokey; and The Warden’s Daughter. His novels are recognized for their humor and poignancy, and his characters and situations are often drawn from his real-life experience as a father of six children. Jerry lives with his wife, Eileen, also a writer, in Wayne, Pennsylvania.

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Anteprima del libro

Wringer - Jerry Spinelli


To Jerry and Helen Weiss


I am grateful to the following for help in writing this story:

Steven and Silvia Hagopian, Tom Reeves, and Laura DeSimone







Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12


Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22


Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Chapter 25

Chapter 26

Chapter 27

Chapter 28

Chapter 29

Chapter 30

Chapter 31

Chapter 32

Chapter 33

Chapter 34

Chapter 35

Chapter 36

Chapter 37

Chapter 38

Chapter 39

Chapter 40


Reader’s Guide

Discussion Questions

Questions for Jerry Spinelli

Excerpt from Loser

1. You Grow Up

2. The Bright Wide World

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About the Author

Books by Jerry Spinelli



About the Publisher


WAYMER—Hundreds of sharpshooters in and around this rural community are cleaning their shotguns as they look forward to Saturday’s 63rd annual Pigeon Day. Beginning at around 8 A.M., participants who have paid a fee will each have the chance to shoot at ten to twenty pigeons as they are released from boxes.

Shooters are scored according to a point system that, at day’s end, rewards the most accurate of all with the coveted Sharpshooter’s trophy. Proceeds from the shoot go to maintain the community’s 40-acre park.

Organizers said approximately 5,000 birds are acquired for the event. Some are purchased from local breeders, while others are trapped in big-city railroad yards.

The pigeons are placed in white boxes. Each shooter takes a turn firing at a series of birds as they are released individually by ropes attached to the boxes.

Most birds are downed. Many are killed instantly, some are wounded. All downed birds are retrieved by so-called wringer boys, who break the necks of the wounded and place all bodies in plastic bags. The bodies are then sold for fertilizer. A few birds manage to escape.

The shoot takes place in a festive, picnic atmosphere of barbecued chicken, water ice and frolicking children. Attendance last year was estimated at 4,000.

Pigeon Day is the traditional climax of Family Fest, a weeklong celebration of amusement rides, pie-eating contests . . .



He did not want to be a wringer.

This was one of the first things he had learned about himself. He could not have said exactly when he learned it, but it was very early. And more than early, it was deep inside. In the stomach, like hunger.

But different from hunger, different and worse. Because it was always there. Hunger came only sometimes, such as just before dinner or on long rides in the car. Then, quickly, it was gone the moment it was fed. But this thing, there was no way to feed it. Well, one way perhaps, but that was unthinkable. So it was never gone.

In fact, gone was something it could not be, for he could not escape it any more than he could escape himself. The best he could do was forget it. Sometimes he did so, for minutes, hours, maybe even for a day or two.

But this thing did not like to be forgotten. Like air escaping a punctured tire, it would spread out from his stomach and be everywhere. Inside and outside, up and down, day and night, just beyond the foot of his bed, in his sock drawer, on the porch steps, at the edges of the lips of other boys, in the sudden flutter from a bush that he had come too close to. Everywhere.

Just to remind him.

This thing, this not wanting to be a wringer, did it ever knock him from his bike? Untie his sneaker lace? Call him a name? Stand up and fight?

No. It did nothing. It was simply, merely there, a whisper of featherwings, reminding him of the moment he dreaded above all others, the moment when the not wanting to be a wringer would turn to becoming one.

In his dreams the moment had already come. 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 shirt button. The pigeon’s eye is orange with a smaller black button in the center. It looks up at him. It does not blink. It seems as if the bird is about to speak, but it does not. Only the voices speak: Wring it! Wring it! Wring it!

He cannot. He cannot wring it, nor can he let go. He wants to let go, desperately, but his fingers are stone. And the voices chant: Wring it! Wring it! and the orange eye stares.

Sometimes he wished it would come after him, chase him, this thing he did not want to be. Then at least he could run from it, he could hide. But the thing never moved. It merely waited. Waited for him to come to it.

And he would. He would come to it as surely as nine follows eight and ten follows nine. He would come to it without having to pedal or run or walk or even move a muscle. He would fall smack into the lap of it without doing anything but breathe. In the end he would get there simply by growing one day older.


His mother called, Palmer, hurry. They’re coming.

The doorbell rang.


He flew down the stairs.

His mother waved him on. "Go, go. It’s your birthday. You invited them."

At the door he turned, suddenly afraid to open it. He did not want to be disappointed. You sure it’s them?

His mother’s eyes rolled. No, it’s my Aunt Millie. Open it.

He opened the door—and there they were! Beans. Mutto. Henry. Three grinning faces. Shoving wrapped gifts into his chest. Storming past him into his house, Beans bellowing, Where’s the grub?

Palmer stayed in the doorway, fighting back tears. They were tears of relief and joy. He had been sure they would not come. But they did. He wondered if they would give him a nickname. What would it possibly be? But that was asking too much. This was plenty. They were here. With presents! They liked him. He was one of them. At last.

Arms full of gifts, he pushed the door shut with his foot and joined them in the dining room. Beans was scooping chocolate icing from the birthday cake onto his finger. With the drama of a sword-swallower, he threw back his head and sank his finger into his mouth. When it came out, it was clean. Mutto cackled and did likewise. Henry stared at Palmer’s mother, who was glaring at Beans.

Palmer’s mother did not like Beans. She wasn’t crazy about Mutto or Henry either, but she especially did not like Beans. He’s a sneak and a troublemaker, she had said. He’s got a mean streak. And she was right. But he was also leader of all the kids on the street, at least the ones under ten years old. It had always been that way. Beans was boss as surely and naturally as any king who ever sat upon a throne.

But he’s the boss, Palmer would explain to his mother.

Boss, my foot, she would snort and turn away.

Some things mothers just did not understand.

Open the presents! Beans barked. He rapped on the table with a spoon. Mutto rapped a spoon also.

Palmer dumped the gifts onto the table and for the first time took a good look at them. They were wrapped in newspaper, sloppily fitted and closed with black tape. No ribbons, no bows, no bright paper.

He tore open the first. It was an apple core, brown and rotting. It’s from me! piped Mutto. You like it? Mutto howled.

Palmer giggled. It’s great. Thanks. What a guy, that Mutto.

The other gifts were a crusty, holey, once-white sock from Henry, and from Beans a thumb-size, brown something that Palmer finally recognized as an ancient cigar butt.

Silverware hopped as Beans and Mutto pounded the dining room table, laughing.

Palmer’s mother, still glaring, came with more gifts. These had ribbons and bows and beautiful paper. Gee, she said, after those nice presents you just got, I feel really cheesy giving you this junk.

Palmer opened them: a soccer ball, a book, a pair of sneakers, a Monopoly game.

Thanks, Mom, he said. It was pointless to say more, pointless to say, I like their presents just as much as yours, because they did it themselves. That means something. It means: We came into your house. We gave you a cigar butt. You are one of us.

Palmer’s mother lit the candles, nine of them on the chocolate cake with chocolate icing. She started off the Happy Birthday song but soon was drowned out by the boys, who screamed it rather than sang. When they came to the line Happy birthday, dear—they glanced at each other and belted out—"Sno-ots! Happy birthday to you!"

So they had done it after all, given him a nickname. Snots. He moved his tongue silently over the name, feeling its shape.

For a moment he wondered if he would be getting The Treatment, but he pushed that thought aside. He was getting greedy. He had already been blessed enough for one day.

Make a wish, said his mother, and blow out the candles.

He stared into the ring of candles—nine yellow flames, plump and liquidlike, perched on their wicks—and suddenly he felt the old fear, launching itself from his shoulder and brushing a wingtip across his cheek. And just as suddenly it was gone and Beans was croaking, Hey, we ain’t got all day. I got lotsa wishes if you don’t. Beans leaned across the table, took a deep breath and blasted away. The flames vanished. Wick tips glowed orange for a second, then turned black.

Let Beans blow away, Palmer didn’t care. Nothing could blow out the candleglow he felt inside. Palmer LaRue—Snots—the world’s newest nine-year-old—was one of the guys.


It was never meant to be a real party. Just cake and ice cream, Palmer’s mother had said, that’s all. She did not want those little hoodlums, as she called them, in her house any longer than necessary.

The boys dragged out the cake and ice cream as long as they could. Beans and Mutto kept leaving their chairs and wandering around and flopping on furniture. Palmer’s mother kept shooing them back to the table.

I guess you’re done now, she said, anxious to shoo them out the door.

More ice cream, they said.

And then Beans started having to go to the bathroom, or so he said. He made three trips upstairs, probably spying on Palmer’s room. As he headed up the stairs for his fourth trip, Palmer’s mother grabbed his arm and announced, Okay, boys, party’s over. Time to go out and enjoy the summer sunshine.

As the guys left, Henry surprised Palmer’s mother by saying thank you for the party. Yeah, Palmer called back, thanks, Mom.

Palmer brought out his new black-and-white soccer ball. Beans snatched it from him and booted it into the back of Mutto’s head. Mutto squawked, and the two of them rumbled onto the sidewalk. Beans and Mutto rumbled several times every day. Each rumble lasted about twenty seconds, with both claiming victory.

The ball bounced down the street and into a neighbor’s front yard. The front yards along Palmer’s street were very small, about the size of a blanket. The grass was neatly trimmed, and almost every yard had a border of flowers. Most of the

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Recensioni dei lettori

  • (3/5)
    This troubling story about meanness, peer pressure and living up to others' expectations might be well-received by many boys. I, myself, did not like it that much. Poor pigeons!
  • (4/5)
    The book left me hanging and left a precious moral- to always follow your dream and have faith. Spenelli is not only a writer, he's a writer with a heart, like his characters.
  • (4/5)
    Palmer LaRue is supposed to become a pigeon wringer when he turns ten like every other boy in his town, but when a pigeon shows up at his bedroom window, he changes how things work in his town. Palmer is very easy for young people to associate with, as he gets picked on a lot and is unsure of his future. The setting is not determined, which makes it more applicable to the average youth. The theme is to not be afraid of being different, and you can control your future. Spinelli's style is accurate to the situation and the readers. I would include this in my collection.
  • (5/5)
    This is a very powerful book for both adults and children. It is a tremendous piece of children's literature.
  • (5/5)
    Brilliant! One of the best children's novels ever.
  • (4/5)
    My favorite Spinelli book.
  • (3/5)
    Palmer is not looking forward to his 10th birthday. In his town, when boys are 10 years old they become "wringers," the boys who wring the necks of wounded pigeons at the annual Pigeon Day shoot. He is squemish at the thought of killing a wounded pigeon in the first place, but after he rescues a stray one and keeps it as a pet, he doesn't know what to do. Should he bow to peer pressure or stand up for what he believes is right?The whole concept of this book just seemed kind of icky to me. I'm not a fan of Lord of the Flies, either. I much preferred Stargirl and its sequel, Love Stargirl.
  • (5/5)
    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 alive after being shot at by the local townsmen. The annual pigeon day is a huge event and Palmer has a decision to make -- should he become a "man," or should he stand alone and say no.Wanting desperately to belong, Palmer abandons his long-term friendship of a neighborhood girl and initially finds a sense of belonging by becoming a member of the in crowd of male bullies where the rite of acceptance is a birthday brutal punch in the arm for every year. Like a medal of honor, Palmer proudly displays his horrific bruises obtained at the hands of a much larger, older boy.Soon, Palmer realizes that he is uncomfortable with both the peers who emotionally and physically harm and the townspeople who once a year maim and kill 5,000 helpless birds.Spinelli does a masterful job of weaving various emotions swirling inside Palmer, especially as Palmer discovers a pigeon on his windowsill and develops a loving relationship with the animal.Returning to his neighborhood friend, he accepts the softer side of himself and once again embraces his friend Dorothy as together they feed and love the animal at the risk of discovery by the bullies and the townspeople.Parker's mother and father are portrayed in a loving way, and his mother in particular shines like a beacon.This book was particularly powerful because of the way the author used the softness of animals and females to guide Parker in his realization that while it is hard to risk non acceptance, it is harder still to say no to what is good, pure and right.Highly recommended. Five Stars!!!
  • (3/5)
    This novel is about a boy who is dreading his 10th Birthday. In the town where he grew up, boys become wringers on their 10th Birthday. Wringers are boys who break the neck of wounded pigeons. These pigeons are wounded on Pigeon Day when people pay money to shoot at these birds. Palmer wanted to be different and fought with his inner feelings about acceptance or individuality. He really doesn't want to become a wringer when he saves a pigeon and it becomes his pet.I think this book is a good book to explain that it is okay to be different and to always follow what you believe in. Its nice to have friends but true friends will not make you conform. Bullies are always a problem for school-aged children so this would be perfect to read.I would start a discussion with my classroom and tell them that it is okay to do what you believe in. As long as they are not breaking the rules or get in trouble. On the brighter side, I would start another discussion to see if any of my students have ever had a pet they loved dearly.
  • (5/5)
    This book tells the story of Palmer, a boy who must decide to succumb to peer pressure or stand up for what he believes in. I'm pretty sure I read this book in elementary school, but I think the ideas could also translate to high school. What high schooler hasn't felt peer pressure? There could be many discussions about peer pressure in general and what to do when it happens. I think it would be a good conversation starter, even if we weren't necessarily talking about the details of the book.
  • (4/5)
    This is an endearing story of a boy who learns to stand up for himself. There were moments of compassion and moments of torment, both depicted with clarity and a true understanding of childhood. I loved the characterization of both male and female characters, as well as parent and child.
  • (3/5)
    On the whole this is a good story. The characters are defined well and the story moves along quickly. There's a feeling of wanting to find out what happens next. This book is sure to be well received by students as it generates many questions and has a real sense of peril to it. As an adult, I found there to be too many instances where I was pressed to suspend my disbelief in order to keep the story moving along. One example: the utter lack of parent involvement when several of the neighborhood boys are essentially bullying a girl rings (wrings) completely false. At the end of the day, books and good stories are about entertainment and expanding our thinking; and this book did both.
  • (4/5)
    I love Spinelli's keen empathy for his complex characters. Not many authors can effectively explore the inner lives of boys. Gary Paulsen and Louis Sachar do very well but in some ways Spinelli is the most sophisticated, with the most wide-ranging and consistently stellar output.
  • (3/5)
    Although this book is obviously created by a great author (great descriptions of situations), the plot is strange. But the way the author puts you in the same kind of situation 9 and 10 year old boys are in and explains the emotions so in depth that you feel the same, you can't help but enjoy the content even if the story is pretty unique.
  • (3/5)
    The portrayal of bullying in this story rang true for me - it reminded me of the gangs of girls that plagued my schoolyard. But there was a vague air of unreality about the story - possibly because my rose-coloured eyeballs had trouble imagining a town that would so actively support the violence of the pigeon shooting day.
  • (4/5)
    Rings true to life, unfortunately. Spinelli illuminates the dark realities of American culture & standard childhood issues such as bullying, peer-pressure, and being afraid to be yourself when everyone else is so WRONG and normal. I could so identify with the protagonist that it was painful. The premise seems brutal & shocking, a whole town who enjoys the annual pigeon-killing festivities that includes having 10-year-olds gleefully putting the injured birds "out of their misery" in the coveted role of "wringer". Seems as horrendous as, say, Thanksgiving, fireworks, pig roasts, rodeos, bull fights, and other seemingly innocuous cultural celebrations that to some of us who are more sensitive seem like orgies of brutality and/or immorality.

    While this was a little less uplifting and inspiring as every other Spinelli novel, there still is a glimmer of hope in the end. This is not a "feel-good" novel like Star Girl, Crash, or Maniac Magee, but an important one to be placed in the hands of the right child. Anyone who feels a bit out of place or is ultra-sensitive would be that right child and would find a hero in Palmer, but perhaps our "Beans & Muddow's" should take a read, too.
  • (5/5)
    I would classify this as realistic fiction. It is about a society that could exist, in which their sport is shooting pigeons on a festival day. I don’t know of any society like this in real life, but the concept is not completely unbelievable and the characters are relatable. Students will be able to relate to feeling lonely and being bullied and wanting to be accepted in their culture.Age Appropriateness: MiddleMedia: N/A
  • (3/5)
    Will he kill it will he not this book leaves you wishing you could help him choose
  • (3/5)
    We had to read this book for a school project and as a school book, it was great. However I liked it for what it was, at some points it was slow and not much went on and the plot was a little bit boring. I still think you should read it was full of wonder too but you’ll have to read it to find out yourself.
  • (5/5)
    Awesome has many interesting details. It's scary at some points, but sometimes it's funny. I like how the boy stands up for what he believes in. I don't really think that the picture on the cover explains what the story would be about. At first, I thought it was a horror story, but it wasn't.