Paul Zindel 1936–
American novelist, dramatist, and screenwriter.
Zindel's informal narrative style and his candid approach to subjects of interest to young people have made him one of the most popular writers of contemporary young adult literature. His teenage characters often feel betrayed by the adult world and cynical towards life in general; but, though they lose their innocence, these protagonists learn to be more self-reliant while maintaining hope for a better future.
Zindel is especially adept at depicting amoral, free-spirited teenagers who learn that carefree living has risks and that people must account for their actions. According to critics, this message comes through most effectively in The Pigman, Zindel's first young adult novel. In this story the young protagonists, John and Lorraine, take advantage of the one sympathetic adult in their lives; only upon his death (which they have caused inadvertently) do they realize the responsibilities they owe to themselves and others. Zindel's subsequent novels, including My Darling, My Hamburger and Pardon Me, You're Stepping on My Eyeball!, offer various perspectives on male-female relationships among adolescents.
Zindel's play The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds, which centers on a domineering mother and her two daughters, appeals to both teenagers and adults. The play earned for Zindel the 1971 Pulitzer Prize in drama.
(See also CLC, Vol. 6; Children's Literature Review, Vol. 3; Contemporary Authors, Vols. 73-76; Something about the Author, Vol. 16; and Dictionary of Literary Biography, Vol. 7.)