Dimensions of Peacocks, pr. 1959
Euthanasia and the Endless Hearts, pr. 1960
A Dream of Swallows, pr. 1964
The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds, pr. 1965
And Miss Reardon Drinks a Little, pr. 1967
The Secret Affairs of Mildred Wild, pr. 1972
The Ladies Should Be in Bed, pb. 1973
Ladies at the Alamo, pr. 1975
A Destiny with Half Moon Street, pr. 1983
Amulets Against the Dragon Forces, pr., pb. 1989
Every Seventeen Minutes the Crowd Goes Crazy!, pr. 1995
When a Darkness Falls, 1984
Up the Sandbox, 1972
Runaway Train, 1983
Maria’s Lovers, 1984
Let Me Hear You Whisper, 1966
Alice in Wonderland, 1985 (adaptation of Lewis Carroll’s novel Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland)
A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, 1989 (adaptation of Mark Twain’s novel)
Children’s/Young Adult Literature:
The Pigman, 1968
My Darling, My Hamburger, 1969
I Never Loved Your Mind, 1970
I Love My Mother, 1975
Pardon Me, You’re Stepping on My Eyeball!, 1976
Confessions of a Teenage Baboon, 1977
The Undertaker’s Gone Bananas, 1978
A Star for the Latecomer, 1980 (with Bonnie Zindel)
The Pigman’s Legacy, 1980
The Girl Who Wanted a Boy, 1981
To Take a Dare, 1982 (with Crescent Dragonwagon)
Harry and Hortense at Hormone High, 1984
The Amazing and Death-Defying Diary of Eugene Dingman, 1987
A Begonia for Miss Applebaum, 1989
The Pigman and Me, 1992 (autobiography)
Attack of the Killer Fishsticks, 1993
David and Della, 1993
Fifth Grade Safari, 1993
Fright Party, 1993
The One Hundred Percent Laugh Riot, 1994
The Doom Stone, 1995
Reef of Death, 1998
The Gadget, 2001
Night of the Bat, 2001
Paul Zindel (zihn-DEHL), a prizewinning young adult author and playwright, is known for his realistic, if sometimes bizarre, presentation of issues and situations appealing to contemporary adolescent readers. According to Zindel, these stories were based on his personal experiences as a teenager and a high school teacher. As a child, Zindel never really knew his father, but his hardworking mother juggled a variety of jobs in order to provide for Zindel and his older sister. Although the family moved frequently, Zindel found that each neighborhood offered a new background for his imaginative pursuits.
While still in high school, Zindel contracted tuberculosis and spent a year and a half in a sanatorium, the only teenager in a sterile world filled with adults. This experience, in addition to his exposure to the private nursing patients cared for by Zindel’s mother, shaped the development of fictional medical incidents that occur in some of his works. From this isolated and lonely time, Zindel developed the voice of an alienated narrator which even reluctant readers have found appealing.
While his major at Wagner College was chemistry (in which he was awarded a B.S. in 1958 and an M.S. in 1959), Zindel also took classes in creative writing; playwright Edward Albee was one of his instructors. After a brief period serving as a technical writer for a chemical company, Zindel spent ten years working as a high school chemistry teacher, writing fiction in his spare time. Wagner College later awarded him an honorary doctorate for his achievements in literature.
Zindel’s literary success began with the production of his play The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds, the story of a tormented family of outcasts. After its initial run in Houston in 1965, the play opened Off-Broadway in 1970 and on Broadway in 1971, winning numerous awards, including the Pulitzer Prize in drama that same year. The play caught the attention of editor Charlotte Zolotow, who encouraged Zindel to write for teenagers. The Pigman, his first young adult novel, earned immediate critical and popular acclaim. The story, which features two alienated teenagers who exploit an elderly man, was named by the American Library Association as one of the Best Books for Young Adults in 1975.
The next year, Zindel published My Darling, My Hamburger, an honest and realistic look at the sensitive personal issues faced by members of his adolescent audience; it was subsequently selected as an Outstanding Children’s Book of the Year (1969) by The New York Times. The books that followed established Zindel’s appeal for the disaffected underdog, each of which was listed as The New York Times Outstanding Children’s Book of the Year in the year of their publication: I Never Loved Your Mind; Pardon Me, You’re Stepping on My Eyeball!; The Undertaker’s Gone Bananas; and The Pigman’s Legacy.
Zindel’s other awards of note included the selection of several of his works as the Best Young Adult Book by the American Library Association in their years of publication, including The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds and the young adult novels Pardon Me, You’re Stepping on My Eyeball!; Confessions of a Teenage Baboon; and The Pigman’s Legacy.
Zindel’s later works appealed to a slightly younger group of readers. In 1993, Attack of the Killer Fishsticks introduced the Wacky Facts Lunch Bunch, a group of fifth graders and their bully rivals. In addition, Zindel explored themes ranging from adventure to horror. In Raptor, Loch, and Reef of Death, Zindel’s characters encounter literal monsters as well as dysfunctional adults. Both Loch and The Doom Stone, another book of horror by Zindel, were chosen as Recommended Books for Reluctant Young Adult Readers by the American Library Association. Zindel married Bonnie Hildebrand in 1973; they had two children, David and Elizabeth. Zindel died of cancer in March, 2003, at the age of sixty-six.