Posted: Saturday, December 1, 2012 6:27:45 AM
Ever since elementary school, I have always enjoyed reading. There is no equivalent to the way that a book can transport you worlds away with the crack of a spine (a book's, of course). But looking back on the many books I have read, I believe that the greatest books have the power to change something within. Wringer, by Jerry Spinelli, is such a book.
In the story, Palmer separates from his gang of friends because his morals strongly differed from theirs. In my life, this has relevance because in the past I have had friends whom I had disconnected from because they changed. I had just moved into a new school district, and making new friends in the 7th grade was difficult, as I was rather introverted, and the other students had already known each other since young. Each day was an effort, being afraid that others would pick on the “new kid”. When I eventually fit in, and gained friends, the feeling was great. School wasn’t the place I dreaded to go anymore. However, I soon realized that the people that I had become friends with were not all that they appeared to be. They only extended their hospitality to those that espoused their inclinations, and I found that my values were actually much different than theirs. When I came to this conclusion, it caused me stress, because I wanted to have friends at school, but not if they would only care if I was always in harmony with them. Eventually, with the help of this book, I made my decision; I stopped associating with my old friends. Through this experience, I feel that it is easier to understand Palmer’s struggle, and because of his conflict, he became a better person in my eyes. For me, by not conforming to the new values my friends had developed, I feel that I had become a better person as well. Even now, when I am in high school, the experiences of a 9 year old boy can help me learn.
This book also helped me truly realize the meaning of friendship. After thinking about the book and its message, I realized that people aren’t always your friends, even if they may pretend to be. True friends aren’t forceful on their opinions, and don’t pressure you to adhere to their expectations or opinions. Palmer stumbles upon this epiphany firsthand, struck by the fear of what his “friends” would do to him if they found out that he was a traitor, yet he had to stay their friend in order to survive. “Maybe I won’t even have a party,” he said. But he knew he would. Because the guys were already talking about it. They were expecting it. And because his strategy for surviving the summer was simply this: stay on their good side.”
Even though one might glance at this book and question the philosophical content of it, it has had a significant impact on my life and on the meaning of friendship to me.