Summary (Magill's Survey of American Literature, Revised Edition)
My Darling, My Hamburger, Zindel’s second young adult novel, was the first to use the type of offbeat title which would become a kind of Zindel trademark. Eventually, the Zindel bibliography would grow to include titles such as Pardon Me, You’re Stepping on My Eyeball!, Harry and Hortense at Hormone High, and The Amazing and Death-Defying Diary of Eugene Dingman (1987). Zindel was again concerned with four basic themes—identity and meaning, the questioning of traditional values, the loneliness of the individual, and the difficulty of communication. My Darling, My Hamburger goes beyond these concerns to deal with subjects such as casual sex, the use of contraceptives, and abortion as an alternative to unwanted pregnancies. These subjects are dealt with realistically and with candor.
Zindel departs from the format used in The Pigman and other novels by focusing on four teenagers rather then his usual two. These four, like the young people in the other novels, learn through their own experiences, without much help from adults. In My Darling, My Hamburger, the lesson appears to be that carefree living has risks and that people must account for their actions. Zindel also departed from The Pigman formula by using a third-person omniscient narrator to tell the story; the language used in the dialogue is similar to that used in his other novels. As in The Pigman, Zindel...
(The entire section is 581 words.)
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My Darling, My Hamburger is a novel about adolescent love. The four main characters—Liz, Sean, Dennis, and Maggie—experience difficulties with their parents, their desires, their expectations of love, and their responsibilities. Dennis and Maggie, like many adolescents, think of themselves as grotesque, and envy Sean and Liz, who, on the surface, seem self-assured. Liz's and Sean's parents—particularly Liz's stepfather and Sean's father—erode their children's ability to love; Dennis's and Maggie's parents are supportive but largely unaware of their children's needs.
Like all of Zindel's novels, My Darling, My Hamburger is told from the teen-agers' perspectives. But unlike The Pigman, which features first-person narration, My Darling, My Hamburger has a third-person omniscient narrator who relates the main characters' thoughts. The novel is both melodramatic and suspenseful, filled with romantic sentiment, adventure, and fast-paced action. Because of the fear and anxiety generated by Liz's pregnancy and abortion, My Darling, My Hamburger contains little of the humor usually found in Zindel's fiction.
(The entire section is 163 words.)