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Paul Zindel (1936–2003)

Autor(a) de The Pigman

61+ Works 8,206 Membros 156 Críticas 8 Favorited

About the Author

Paul Zindel Born on Staten Island, New York, Zindel was raised by a single mother who pursued a variety of odd and mostly unsuccessful jobs and took in terminally ill patients to supplement the family income. Due to her eccentricity and restlessness, the mother moved the family from one apartment mostrar mais to another, making it difficult for Zindel to form lasting friendships. As a consequence, the boy lived in the world of his imagination, developing interests in both science and writing. Zindel majored in chemistry at Wagner College on Staten Island, completing both bachelors and masters degrees. During this period he also took a creative-writing course offered by the playwright Edward Albee. After college he worked briefly as a technical writer for a chemical company and then discovered a more fulfilling vocation as a teacher of chemistry and physics at a Staten Island high school. It was during this period in the early 1960s that Zindel was able to develop his potential as a playwright by drawing on his own background as well as the experiences of his young students. The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds premiered at the Alley Theater in Houston in 1965, was presented in a condensed version on television the following year, and finally opened off-Broadway at the Mercer-O'Casey Theater in 1970. Because of a fire in the theater, the play was moved, with a new cast, to the New Theater on Broadway, where it ran for a total of 819 performances. In addition to being enormously popular, Gamma Rays earned in 1970 an Obie Award as the best play of the season, the New York Drama Critics Circle Award as the best American play, and the Vernon Rice Drama Desk Award for most promising playwright. In 1971 the play was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in Drama. Gamma Rays is the story of an embittered, half-mad widow, Beatrice Hunsdorfer; her teenaged daughters, Ruth and Tillie; and Nanny, a decrepit old woman who boards with them. The family lives in chaos, with Beatrice dealing out petty vengeance to everyone. Nanny has been abandoned by her daughter. Ruth is wanton, untidy, and subject to seizures. Tillie, however, has become interested in science and enters her marigold experiment in the science fair; by exposing the marigold seeds to radiation, she shows that some produce normal plants, others produce mutations with beautiful double blooms, while still others die. The metaphor, of course, is that Tillie has emerged from her chaotic environment as a beautiful and whole person, a human "double bloom." Zindel's other plays include And Miss Reardon Drinks a Little (1971), The Secret Affairs of Mildred Wild(1973), Let Me Hear You Whisper (1973), and Ladies at the Alamo(1975). While these plays continue to show Zindel's skill in writing excellent roles for women, none of them have matched the critical and popular success of Gamma Rays. Since the late 1960s, Zindel has also written several novels for young adults. The Pigman (1968), which is about a lonely widower and two destructive teenagers, has sold more than 1 million copies. His other novels include My Darling, My Hamburger (1969), I Never Loved Your Mind (1970), Pardon Me, You're Stepping on My Eyeball (1976), Confessions of a Teenage Baboon (1977), and The Undertaker's Gone Bananas (1978). As in Gamma Rays, these works display not only a penchant for grotesque humor but an uncanny awareness of the problems of teenagers. Zindel's works, which also include several screenplays, explore the themes of loneliness, escapism, and eccentricity. His best works are humorous, perceptive, and warm; they present an affirmation of life emerging from desperate and grotesque circumstances. He is especially noted for his excellent women's roles, which has helped sustain him as a best-selling playwright for school and community groups. (Bowker Author Biography) mostrar menos
Image credit: Paul Zindel (1936-2003) from Life in Legacy


Obras por Paul Zindel

The Pigman (1968) 2,958 exemplares
My Darling, My Hamburger (1969) 450 exemplares
The Pigman's Legacy (1980) 444 exemplares
Loch (1994) 300 exemplares
The Pigman and Me (1993) 276 exemplares
The Gadget (2000) 245 exemplares
The Doom Stone (1995) 208 exemplares
The Undertaker's Gone Bananas (1978) 181 exemplares
Confessions of a Teenage Baboon (1977) 177 exemplares
I Never Loved Your Mind (1970) 169 exemplares
A Begonia for Miss Applebaum (1989) 154 exemplares
Rats (1999) 151 exemplares
The Scream Museum (2001) 139 exemplares
Night of the Bat (2001) 113 exemplares
Raptor (1998) 102 exemplares
Reef of Death (1998) 101 exemplares
The Surfing Corpse (2001) 73 exemplares
And Miss Reardon Drinks a Little (1971) 56 exemplares
A Star for the Latecomer (1735) — Autor — 48 exemplares
Alice in Wonderland [1985 TV movie] (1985) — Screenwriter — 47 exemplares
The Girl Who Wanted a Boy (1981) 46 exemplares
Mame [1974 film] (1991) — Screenwriter — 39 exemplares
Attack of the Killer Fishfingers (1993) 38 exemplares
The Square Root of Murder (2002) 36 exemplares
David & Della (1993) 35 exemplares
To Take a Dare (1982) — Autor — 35 exemplares
The E-Mail Murders (2001) 32 exemplares
Runaway Train [1985 film] (1985) — Screenwriter — 27 exemplares
Death on the Amazon (2002) 26 exemplares
When Darkness Falls (1984) 25 exemplares
The Lethal Gorilla (2001) 23 exemplares
The Gourmet Zombie (2002) 20 exemplares
Ladies at the Alamo (1977) 19 exemplares
I Love My Mother (1750) 18 exemplares
The Phantom of 86th Street (2002) 16 exemplares
Fifth Grade Safari (1993) 16 exemplares
Babes in Toyland [1986 TV movie] (1986) — Screenwriter — 14 exemplares
Fright Party (1993) 12 exemplares
100% Laugh Riot (1994) 10 exemplares
Let Me Hear You Whisper: A Play (1974) 9 exemplares
Up the Sandbox [1972 film] (1972) — Screenwriter — 9 exemplares
The Petrified Parrot (2004) 6 exemplares
The Houdini Whodunit (2002) 6 exemplares
Death by CD (2002) 5 exemplares
Bats (2000) 4 exemplares
City Safari No. 3 1 exemplar

Associated Works

Places I Never Meant To Be: Original Stories by Censored Writers (1999) — Contribuidor — 314 exemplares
Six Science Fiction Plays (Pocket Books Sci-Fi No. 48766) (1975) — Contribuidor — 60 exemplares
The Obie Winners: The Best of Off-Broadway (1980) — Contribuidor — 25 exemplares
Lost and Found (13-in-1) (2000) — Contribuidor — 22 exemplares
Best Plays of the Seventies (1980) — Contribuidor — 11 exemplares
Growing Up Stories (1995) — Contribuidor — 11 exemplares
Love Stories (1997) — Contribuidor — 10 exemplares


Conhecimento Comum

Data de nascimento
Data de falecimento
Localização do túmulo
Moravian Cemetery, Staten Island, New York, USA
Local de nascimento
Staten Island, New York, USA
Local de falecimento
New York, New York, USA
Locais de residência
Staten Island, New York, USA
Wagner College
Zindel, Lizabeth (daughter)
Prémios e menções honrosas
Margaret A. Edwards Award (2002)



A short book which, once it gets going, has a breakneck pace and a slapstick black-humour slant. It is a little slow to begin with, there being a lot of info-dumping about the teenage protagonists, Bobby and Lauri. Both are misfits at school and best friends, with Lauri wanting the relationship to develop into romance. But once they arrange a 'Welcome Wagon' for the new couple who have moved into the apartment next door to Bobby, the fun is underway.

Mr Hulka seems slightly strange, an impression strengthened when the two teens gain access to the Hulka home, using the 'Welcome Wagon' ploy: bringing food and drink to welcome the residents, and satisfying their curiosity into the bargain. The Hulkas have dolls houses complete with figures and miniature furniture, apparently carved by Mr Hulka, and a lot of beautifully made wooden boxes that turn out to be antique dissection kits. To complete the impression, he explains that he is an undertaker.

Bobby's parents go away for a couple of weeks, leaving him at home. Not something that would be allowed these days, even for a 15-year old, but there's a big degree of trust between him and his parents, and he isn't interested in joining them on their climbing holiday. For the story's purposes they have to be got out of the way because as soon as he's alone he hears a violent argument next door and sees, from where the two apartments have an adjoining terrace, Mr Hulka apparently killing his wife.

He calls the police but Mrs Hulka arrives home from a shopping trip unscathed. Bobby and Lauri have often indulged in harmless pranks - wearing ape masks or dressing up as a nun and a monk to stroll around the cathedral grounds - and this has marked them out as troublemakers with the local police. The police view this as another prank, so when the argument next door appears to be re-staged later the same day, the police won't believe Bobby and threaten to lock him up while they call his parents back. And so begins the whistle-stop investigation and chase as he and Lauri try to get evidence and are drawn increasingly into danger.

The two teenage characters are well-drawn with Bobby's 100-miles-an-hour single-minded energy and Lauri's painful recovery from the trauma of witnessing the fatal fire which trapped and killed her neighbours at her previous address. Bobby is solicitous of her constant fear of death and she is slowly getting better, but the constant exposure to coffins, bodies and the idea of murder as they pursue Hulka become a kill-or-cure therapy. Hulka is a nicely over-the-top psycho, especially as the story escalates. The only flaw is that the final scene ends a bit too abruptly.

The book is of its time (1978) - no mobile phones to get the protagonists out of a fix, for example. They are both fans of TV: no internet etc then. However, it comes across as slightly more modern than the previous Zindel novel I've read (The Pigman), as a branch of Macdonalds makes a few appearances, and there are references to Star Trek which must be to the original series but could easily be to the modern reboots, whereas the earlier novel had details such as typewriters and a malt shop/soda shop, which would seem prehistoric to today's teens and young adults. The story can still be enjoyed as a gory crime romp.
… (mais)
kitsune_reader | 1 outra crítica | Nov 23, 2023 |
i read this is as a teenager, sitting in the school library to avoid everyone. i enjoyed it then and would probably re-read it now as an adult, just to see how it strikes the adult me. it was certainly intriguing back then. a great coming-of-age tale.
jewelledfrog | 17 outras críticas | Jul 26, 2023 |
Another good YA novel about treating girls right, I think.
kslade | 17 outras críticas | Dec 8, 2022 |
I liked this YA novel but can’t remember the details. It's about tolerance for an odd man, I think.
kslade | 68 outras críticas | Dec 8, 2022 |



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