Many learning experiences about friendships, parents, advice, and serious relationships can be observed in the novel My Darling, My Hamburger, by Paul Zindel.
An important lesson that runs throughout the entire book is that a relationship or friendship does not truly exist without mutual respect. A good example of this is the rapport between Maggie and Liz; simpleton Maggie thinks Liz is her best friend, but that is not exactly true since Liz does not treat her as an equal. When Liz ardently called Maggie up to tell her to break her date with Denis because she got in a fight with Sean, that gave me the impression that Maggie was beneath Liz, like a little sister who she could boss around. Liz oppresses her decisions and opinions upon Maggie because she can be easily taken advantage of, and Maggie is willing takes it all in because she respects Liz's choices and thinks they have some higher purpose and importance.
Another example is the relationship between Maggie and Denis, yet theirs does theoretically exist. They both notice the flaws in one another (Maggie's unnaturally small ears and Denis's passÃÂ© baggy sweatshirt to name a few) but they don't treat each other indifferently. They treat each other with mutual self-respect, a characteristic that would have allowed their relationship to prosper if Liz hadn't interfered. Respect is a very important characteristic to any relationship of any kind, and this book stresses it.
Another lesson learned is that parental advice greatly shapes the choices children make. The relationship between Liz and her mom is a good example. Liz's mom tries to be the ideal housewife, and never has or tries to take the time to seriously give Liz advice and understand her. Without her moral guidance, Liz makes many unfortunate choices such as getting pregnant, having an abortion, and not graduating from high school; with her mom's and possibly her step dad's guidance, things might have turned out differently. Another example is the strong bond between Mrs. Tobin, Maggie's mom, and Maggie. She understands that her daughter is a teenager, and gives her good advice about her relationship with Denis; " A boy does not have to look like a prince to make a good husband." With Mrs. Tobin's counsel, Maggie is later more auspicious in life than Liz and makes better choices. Children are very susceptible to advice their parents their parents give them, and their choices reflect upon it.
Many of the characters in My Darling, My Hamburger have little idiosyncrasies and mentalities that make up a wide portion of their personalities, and makes them liable for criticism. Maggie's character is a good one to observe and critique. She is very self-conscious about her appearance, and always turns to Liz for her opinion; " Ã¢ÂÂ¦Liz always had good taste; she thought she could always trust Liz's opinion. It always seemed believableÃ¢ÂÂ¦". I would advise Maggie not to be so vain and not to always trust Liz's suggestions;Liz is not the best person to turn to since she does not make good choices herself. Sean's communication problem with Liz also makes him liable for criticism. Sean and Liz's relationship is always in turmoil because of this mutual communication problem; they are more concerned about "proving" their points to each other than working out their problems. I would advise Sean to be more cooperative and talk more to Liz, she probably doesn't like fighting all the time just as much as he does. Little habits and mentalities make up the personalities of the characters of this book, and also make them easily criticizable.
Many parodies and life lessons can be obtained from My Darling, My Hamburger that can be related with today. Never judge by outside appearances. Maggie certainly learned this lesson, when Liz and her hitched a ride to the Red Pub Inn with Rod Gittens, a supposedly "handsome" guy who graduated two years before Maggie and Liz. He was a complete jerk and when Maggie got out of his car, he said she "had a nice pair of knockers" and drove off; how tactless. Another important lesson is being an adult has its consequences. Maggie, Liz, Sean, and Dennis want to enter the world of adulthood by making adult decisions (Liz and Sean having a serious relationship and going to bars without the knowledge of their parents), but in the end they don't know how handle the repercussions that goes along with it. The four of them do not understand that it is a package deal and therefore are forced to deal with the consequences. Many lessons and proverbs can be obtained from this book that very applicable to life today.
My Darling, My Hamburger, by Paul Zindel, is a very good book that I would recommend to anyone and provides many learning experiences; without respect there is no real relationship. Liz and Maggie's friendship certainly proves this, since Liz does not treat her "best friend" as an equal. Parental advice greatly shapes the choices children make. Liz made bad choices partly because he mother never provided her without any real guidance. Never judge anyone on what they look like; someone can be really handsome/beautiful but inside they can be a real jerk. I would highly recommend this book to anyone; it presents self-relatable learning experiences and interesting characters.