Dear Jerry Spinelli,
With a title like Loser, what middIe school age kid wouldn't want to read this book? I used to think nobody else could feel as strange, weird, and out of sync with the rest of the world as I do. Your book helped me to realize I'm really NOT weird because Donald Zinkoff had similar problems with his peers.
When Donald Zinkoff went looking for Claudia after she ran away from home, he thought he was doing something helpful for her family and friends. Once I had a friend who never owned a pet. I volunteered to bring my cat to school for her to pet and love. I had no idea she would ever be allergic to cats! She missed school the next day and had to get a shot all because of what happened when I thought I was being kind, giving, friendly, and polite. I was so embarrassed and disappointed to think something that felt so right could turn out so wrong. I think that is how Donald Zinkoff felt when he found out he, rather than Claudia, was the missing child the crowd was now looking for.
At first, Donald thought he was the fastest runner. Before I started grade school, so did I. During recess I used to play kickball with everyone else. One day while we were playing, I had reached first base! When the next kid kicked it, he ran as fast as Gary Hobin. He passed me and got a homerun before I even left third! I was so embarrassed and angry at myself. I certainly did feel like a loser.
Jabip! Donald Zinkoff would be laughing until he pukes. Literally! Like me, Donald would laugh about the silliest of things. Sometimes I'll remember something that happened over a year ago and burst out laughing in the middle of class. That would always get me in trouble and sometimes sent to the principal's office. Early this year, I was eating lunch in my school's cafeteria and laughed so hard I had chili shoot out of my nose! I think I could be another Donald Zinkoff myself. But, I have also learned that these are more “normal” things to have happen at my age rather than being such weird things.
So... am I really a loser? No. I think I am rather “normal” especially after reading this book. I've realized that lots of kids go through many of the things I have! Also that it's nothing out of the ordinary for them, either! Now, I really do wish I had read this book earlier. It taught me to look back at the past and have a little laugh. Now I don't regret anything that I have done. It may not have made me popular, but I do have better friends now. This book can easily teach you to be yourself. Can you believe a 218 page book can make such an impact on a life? It did for me!