(Masterpieces of American Literature)

I Never Loved Your Mind, Zindel’s third young adult novel, was written after the author had spent six months in Taos, New Mexico, following his decision to quit teaching. Zindel had taken a leave of absence from teaching to spend a year as playwright-in-residence at Houston’s Alley Theater, and when he returned to the classroom he quickly became disillusioned with teaching. After his resignation, he went to Taos, where he lived in a house given him by a friend. When he returned from Taos and had to have an appendectomy, he commented that he was grateful to have a “traditional doctor . . . rather than someone at Hot Springs commune.”

True to form, I Never Loved Your Mind is essentially a summarization of Zindel’s own experiences, with characters drawn from life models. The model for Dewey Daniels was a “nasty and a little preppy” student of Zindel, while Yvette Goethals is a composite. The primary model for Yvette was an orphan Zindel had befriended, but Zindel’s mother may be seen in Yvette’s habit of stealing something at the end of each shift she works.

After using the third-person omniscient narrator format in My Darling, My Hamburger, Zindel returned to first-person narrative in I Never Loved Your Mind. He also returned to the style of writing that characterizes the John Conlan chapters of The Pigman. Some readers, however, feel that Zindel placed too much reliance on hyperbole in constructing Dewey’s narratives. They point out that at times Zindel seems to arbitrarily opt for exotic, grotesque, or ridiculous imagery when plain language would serve. Dewey’s description of Yvette provides one example of Zindel language excesses. Dewey begins by saying simply that Yvette’s shape is “not too...

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(Masterpieces of American Literature)

DiGaetani, John L. “Paul Zindel.” In A Search for a Postmodern Theater: Interviews with Contemporary Playwrights, edited by DiGaetani. New York: Greenwood Press, 1991.

Forman, Jack Jacob. Presenting Paul Zindel. Boston: Twayne, 1988.

Megyeri, Kathy A. “Paul Zindel.” English Journal 93 (November, 2003): 12-13.

Rees, David. The Marble in the Water: Essays on Contemporary Writers of Fiction for Children and Young Adults. Boston: Horn Book Press. 1980.

Smith, Grant T. “The Pigman’s Story: Teaching Paul Zindel in the 21st Century.” In Censored Books, II: Critical Viewpoints, 1985-2000, edited by Nicholas J. Karolides. Lanham, Md.: Scarecrow, 2002.

Strickland, Ruth L. “Paul Zindel.” In Twentieth-Century American Dramatists, First Series, edited by John MacNicholas. Vol. 7 in Dictionary of Literary Biography. Detroit: Gale Research, 1981.