Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Confessions of a Teenage Baboon

Paul Zindel has written some of the most heartbreaking, funny and personal YA books of all time. My absolute favorite is Confessions of a Teenage Baboon.
Zindel also retold this story in the format of a play titled Amulets Against The Dragon Forces. The play ends on a slightly different note than the novel (won't give it away here). I think Confessions is Zindel's most personal book. It's definitely one that I've reread several times.

In the play, an important character's name is altered from Lloyd to Floyd. Also, strangely, a character with this same name appears in Paul Zindel's only attempt at writing a novel strictly for an adult audience When A Darkness Falls. I believe that book was written when Zindel moved to Hollywood and it's really a lot different from his other books. I can't begin to explain how much I love Zindel, but I would not recommend this adult book. It brings a seriously disturbing light to this character not seen in his novel or play. It seems that Zindel was battling with these dark demons his whole life. The monster books he wrote near the end of his career such as Loch or Rats better channel this energy. Amulets Against the Dragon Forces is not nearly as well known as his Pulitzer Prize winning play The Effect of Gamma-Rays on Man In the Moon Marigolds. Personally, I think it's a better play and would love to see it performed some day. It's the only one of Zindel's plays that truly captures the feel of his YA books.

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