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Literature / Loser

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It's hard living in a world where people want to judge you all the time.
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Loser is a coming of age novel written by Jerry Spinelli about a boy named Donald Zinkoff, ostracized by his peers due to his clumsiness and clueless nature. The book follows Zinkoff during his developmental years through Elementary and Middle school.


This book provides examples of:

  • Aerith and Bob: Surnames like "Orwell" are seen alongside "Zinkoff", "Shankfelder", "Tuttle" "Bonce" and "Meeks".
  • Ambiguous Disorder: Zinkoff.
  • I Just Want to Have Friends: Zinkoff is a Type B. After being given a personality test that requires him to list the name of his best friend and having no real answer to put down, he sets out to find one after he puts down the name of the first person he can think of who also has no best friend, named "Hector Binns". At first, Zinkoff is able to attain his friendship, but the friendship quickly dissolves.
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  • Jerkass: Zinkoff runs into a lot of these in school especially the kid who took his giraffe hat.
  • Last-Name Basis: Zinkoff goes by his unusual last name instead of his much more ordinary first name Donald.
  • Loners Are Freaks: Zinkoff himself is pretty zany, but we also get Hecter Binns, another loner who collects his ear wax to make a candle.
  • Poor Communication Kills: At the climax, Zinkoff goes out searching during winter for a missing Claudia. Turns out, she was found quickly without Zinkoff's knowledge, and he spends seven hours looking for her in the cold while the police search for him.
  • Picked Last: The final scene.
  • "Take Your Child to Work Day" Plot: Zinkoff gets very excited by Take Your Kid to Work Day and his friend Andrew actually goes. It almost doesn’t go well for Zinkoff because his father, being a mailman, can’t bring along a child in his single-seater mailtruck. However, they settle for driving around the neighborhood on a Sunday in the family car, with Zinkoff delivering letters he made himself.
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