Name of Book: Loser
Author: Jerry Spinelli
Publisher: Harper Collins
Audience: Ages 10-14
Summary: Donald Zinkoff is a great kid. He laughs easily, likes people, and loves school. When he blows a race for his team, all of his all of his previously ignored “quirks” become a focal point and brand him as a loser. But Donald doesn’t really notice, for he is blessed with an abundant amount of love and acceptance from his family. With this love he is able to see with “little-kid eyes” those around him that others can’t see. This is a must read for anyone who works with children and young adults.
Literary elements at work in the story: This book has its faults. It can be heavy-handed but the love and acceptance Spinelli brings to the book’s characters far outweighs this flaw. The use of an omniscient narrator allows the story to be told almost like a case study.
How does the perspective on gender/race/culture/economics/ability make a difference to the story: There is a strong point of view that makes it clear from the start that this is a contemporary book about a boy who, though different, is mostly ignored by his peers until he blows a soccer game for his team. Then all eyes, are on him and once that happens, his peers begin to see him not as an odd guy but a loser.
Scripture: Psalm 139: 14-16
Theology: Donald knows in his heart what the Psalmist is saying. He is laughed at and ridiculed by his peers, but he not only doesn’t care, he doesn’t notice. He is happy. Happy because his parents and those close to him have told him from the time that he was born that that he is “wonderfully made.” We are all “wonderfully made” as we are all children of God. What we do with that wonderfulness is another story. We can disregard it and focus on our faults and the faults of others or be can be like Donald and revel in the love we give and get. Donald is unique, but he shouldn’t be. He should be the norm as that is how God intends us to be. Go and be a Donald because that is the kind of happy, loving person we are made to be.
Faith Talk Questions:
- Have you ever felt like the odd person out?
- Have you ever made someone feel like the odd person out?
- What have you done when faced with situations in question 1 and 2?
- Is it hard to feel like you are wonderful?
- If so, why?
- What does God say about our wonderfulness?
- What makes you wonderful?
- How can you help other people feel wonderful and accepted?
This review was written by guest reviewer Janet Lloyd
Loser by Storypath is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.