My Darling, My Hamburger: Don’t let the title fool you

My roommate made me read this book. He was quite enthusiastic that I do so. I was expecting it to be some fun little high school comedy.

What I got was a depressing story about peer pressure and abortions. Thanks, roomy.

Pointless fact: the cover of the one I read
was this, but red; that’s not important,
I just felt like you should know that

My Darling, My Hamburger stars Sean, Liz, Dennis, and Maggie (as you may have figured out from the cover), four high school seniors. The story focuses on their developing relationships, as Maggie and Dennis begin dating and Sean and Liz deal with the struggles of a couple that have been dating for a long time. When Liz ends up pregnant, she and Sean struggle to figure out what to do.

Meanwhile, Maggie and Dennis are getting dragged along for the ride.

Yeah, the distribution of spotlight time is not at all even. Despite having top billing on the cover, both Dennis and Maggie aren’t all that important to the plot. Maggie just suffers from Liz’s terrible decisions and Dennis suffers from Maggie’s dog-like devotion to her friend. Honestly, you could cut those two out and focus exclusively on Sean and Liz and the story would be almost completely unaffected.

This book is also extremely dated. It’s a book from 1969 and you can tell. The slang is dated, which makes the dialogue feel stiff and awkward at times. I kind of like it, though; it’s a piece of its time and it has a dated sort of charm to it. But for anyone who isn’t me and doesn’t wish they could live in the past, it might be a problem.

Not to mention how dark and depressing this book is. It’s all about kids with self-esteem issues, suicidal thoughts, shitty step parents, abortion, abusive partners, sexual pressure, near rape, all that fun shit. All of it culminates in an ending where no one gets where they want; the baby is aborted, everyone breaks up, and no one is happy. It’s absolutely miserable.

If you can get down for something like that, then maybe My Darling, My Hamburger is the book for you. But if you prefer a book with a lighter tone or a more modern piece, then steer clear.

I’m surprised they let this thing in a school library. Oh yeah, my roomy stole this from our high school library.

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42 responses to “My Darling, My Hamburger: Don’t let the title fool you”

  1. I am so sorry you didn’t enjoy it. I am an English teacher and we use it as a tool to teach symbolism, inference, how family and friends can influence your journey, and theme. My students fell in love with it because it is one of the few books which shows how we have grown as a society and how some things are still stagnant (toxic male masculinity). It brings up important conversations like: How can teens make informed decisions about sex if parents and schools are not willing to be honest and upfront (because saying you need a hamburger isn’t getting it)? What do you do if you don’t have parents who are willing to guide you and are toxic? At what point are you a friend or a doormat (we all have made the mistake of befriending someone who is really a life sucking creature)? Paul Zindel liked to pull out the “ugly” of teenage life and make the reader examine it.

    I wish you were in my class because I think you would have looked at it differently and really enjoyed it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hey , I’m from Mrs.Stausing class , something i learned about the book was the author was pointing out what some of us teenagers go through in real life. Yes the book is dark , but its also a lesson and a theme.

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  3. After reading this book. I leaned the importance of communication if the communication between Liz and Sean were better things could’ve been better and the influence the people around have e.x the parents

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  4. I read this book, I didn’t learn much but I thought it was an alright book. Got boring in a few parts but then a chapter would come up that regained my interest. Ending could have been a bit better though.

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  5. Hey Guys I wont yall to know that I really think that this life of these kids Were always sad or confused there were hardly any times where everyone was happy, so all i have learned from this book is that if you get preagnate you will die.

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  6. In this book I’ve learned that no matter what happens at home it’s hard to pull yourself out. You could have a horrible home life and still be good it’s just harder for you than others. Sean usually doesn’t let his dad bother him but in the end he listened and it got to him. I think without his dad present he would’ve been good.

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  7. I am part of Mrs. Stausing’s class. To be honest it wasn’t my favorite book but it was still pretty good. I would say the best part for me would be how Maggie and Dennis had such a great life because there parents actually cared about there life and engaged with them. While Sean and Liz’s parents didn’t really know anything about there kids life.

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  8. Hey I’m in that teachers English class and I enjoyed the book because it really showed how people back then lived like how some people live today, so its an example of how not to live your life if you don’t want to end up like them or if you have issues like the characters how you can live and over come those things.

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  9. The book goes over still current social problems, (abortions, sexual abuse, abuse, teen pregnancy). All these problems are still common to today’s world. Symbolism is in every chapter, from innocence to the loss of her religious morals.

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  10. I actually liked the book. I liked the book but I don’t like the way it ended denis and maggie definitely took a turn..then the ending was so surprising. It’s like sean fell out of love with her close to the end. The book gives hints to the characters that you should look at closely.

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  11. If I hadn’t read this book and all the symbolism hadn’t been explained to me I would not have understood as much as I do now.

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  12. One of the part that represented symbolism, was when Liz was very careful going to the phone booth but coming back she was not very careful. Crazy ending man she dead.

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  13. One thing I learned about this book is to always have good communication with people that love or with just anyone in your life. But overall this book is really inserting to read and really good.

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  14. I think Maggie and Dennis are very important to our plot here in “My Darling, My Hamburger” because they show us how important a good home life is and how important it is to have good comunication with your parents. We follow all of our main characters but we see how much Maggie and Dennis change through out the whole story they go from awkward and clumsy to finding themselves and using their experances to learn and grow from there.

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  15. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, because it taught me how to analyze. Before Mrs. Stausings’s class I would have never known that Liz dies in the end. I would have missed the bunnies representing fertility, the corsage box representing a casket, Liz’s stride after her unfortunate call with her step-father, and so many other examples of symbolizism.

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  16. This book was not one I would’ve read on my own, I usually don’t judge books by the cover but I was just not a fan. It definitely took me a few chapters to get into it but once I did I really liked it. This book was jam-packed with symbolism left and right. I feel like it’s one of those books I like reading at the moment and will talk about with people but I’m not sure if I would read it again. I do think more people should read it though.

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  17. I think Maggie and Dennis were a great piece of this book. Without them, what side would we see without them. The other side of the familys, the rights and wrongs if you will. I also find there is a lot of symbolism in the book. If you looked into this more you would see at the end (During Graduation) Maggie looked up and saw an angel that has been painted over many times. Which symbolizes Liz, she tried to cover up her flaws/ mistakes. The fact that Maggie wished Liz was there for graduation and then happened to look up and saw the angel shows Liz is guiding Maggie throughout the graduation. Such as walking the stage, Maggie knew exactly where to stand and where the cord was. All the white in the book, the bunnies, the white shoes with a scuff mark, the white dress symbolizes purity. However the scuff mark on the shoes symoblizes they’re not fully innocent. Maybe give the book another chance, it truly is a great book with many different points of views with many different themes.

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  18. there is extreme symbolism in this book which can help you breakdown the plot and show just how important all the characters are. Maggie is very important to this story because of her we get to see the light in a healthy relationship with a family same with Dennis and his family which creates contrast to Sean and Liz’s family. This book is amazing and if you take the time to analyze all of its aspects it can teach you how to make better choices in life.

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  19. I think that this book is a good thing for teenagers to read because it discusses the pressures and problems of teenage life. While I don’t think its necessarily a super entertaining book that I would read for fun, I do think that it shows how things are and how badly things can go if you are not careful.

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