Confessions of a Teenage Baboon
142 p.;21 cm.
New York: Harper & Row
15-Year old Chris Boyd lives with his mother in Staten Island. Chris is a mother's boy, but that is not his fault. He had a great father, but he went out on one evening and never came back. And so Chris grows up under his mother's thump and the only connection he has with his father is his treasured overcoat, which he drags along with him wherever he goes. Symbolically the coat is much too big for Chris. Helen, as Chris calls his mother, is a resident nurse and she takes Chris wherever her next job is. When she is stationed in the Dipardi's house, to look after the old lady Carmelita who is dying of cancer, Chris comes under the negative influence of the patient's son Lloyd. Lloyd is an alcoholic, who surrounds himself by youngsters of Chris's age and give wild parties for them. Lloyd and Helen hate each other and Chris gets kicked around between them.
The house is a terrible place for a terminally ill person, and Carmelita dies to the sound of loud music. Lloyd has made a mess of his own life. He seems to like Chris and tells him how not to mess up his. Chris at first does not wish to follow Lloyd, but later, after he has learnt to see through his mother's selfishness and destructive care for him, he realises that Lloyd is right and is sincerely trying to help him to make something of his life. After Lloyd has taken the ultimate consequence of his own life failed and commits suicide; Chris feels a new life coming on. Among Lloyd's horrible followers he has met a good girl and he feels that he can face the future. He no longer feels the need to drag his father's coat along. Lloyd's tragedy is that he has never had any friends to share his childhood trauma with. Now, as an adult, the only warmth he can get comes from teenagers whose sympathy and affection he buys by giving wild parties. Lloyd recognises himself in Chris and he other way around therefor their friendship eventually works. For Lloyd this friendship comes to late and his misery drags him to suicide, but Chris learns from his tragic life and he can face the future. Lloyds was like a father for Chris. Lloyd helped him a lot (in a weird way) through his difficult teen-years.
The genre that I found is Fiction. Not science fiction but half-documentary fiction and half autobiographical. (I explain later).
My opinion of the book: I think it is a great book and a great story about a boy who lost his father and now lives with his mother. And has to deal with a lot of set backs in his live. The language is good to understand but sometimes there where some words I had to look up in the dictionary .I think the language is very good to understand for English teenagers. The subjects in the books of Paul Zindel are nearly always the same. I think it is good to write about those subjects in books because teenagers can face the future. So that they can see it isn't always as perfect as it seems to be. They can learn how to resolve the problems. The style of the book is drama. There where some disappointments in the book, example; When Lloyd commit suicide (If I wrote this book I hadn't wrote that). And when Helen ordered the police men that they have to beat Lloyd, I think that is horrible, especially because Lloyd has gone through a lot of difficult times. There were no surprises in the book.
I think this book is half-autobiographical. In many of his works, the teenagers' parents aren't very comprehensive or understanding. Actually, in his own autobiography, "The Pigman & Me ", his own mother was like many of the mothers described in hid novels. His parent's weren't together during his life. Paul's father dead when he was around five years old. Paul Zindel enjoys television, movies, dream interpretation, swimming and fatting foods - particularly Hunan Cuisine and ice cream. He also likes new experiences and teenagers who need someone to confide in. His books are made mostly for teenagers or young adults. Although he has made a lot of money, Zindel isn't conceited. He's one of those remarkable people that loves helping teenagers.
Paul Eugene Zindel was born on May 15, 1963 in the Staten Island Borough of New York City. He is currently living in Manhattan. He is the author of several novels for young adults, a picture book, theatre plays and numerous screenplays. His first two novels, The Pigman and My darling, my hamburger were selected as outstanding books of the year by the New York Critics 1971 Pulitzer Prize for Dram and the New York Critics Circle awards. Paul Zindel is such an expert. Not only does he write books, which appeal to teenagers, he also has the reputation of discussing subjects which may be shocking to children and grown-ups, but which fascinate adolescents. Zindel is not afraid to deal with items such as sex, suicide, alcoholism, broken homes, conflicts with their parents, difficult friendships; subjects which adults have kept away from their teenage children for too long. Teenagers are the main characters in Zindel's books, because they are responsible in their own world. In real life more and more teenagers are on their own or have to deal with broken homes or quarrelling parents.
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