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on March 2, 1999
In my opinion the book, The Weirdo, wasn't very exciting due to the fact that it was very slow moving. The reason I quote this is because one thing would happen and then four chapters later something else would finally happen. For example, you would find out that Samantha Sanders, the main character would talk long walks, but you wouldn't find out until later why she took them. Finally, after about the tenth chapter things started to move a little quicker. The book in my opinion on a level of one to ten would receive a five. This book I would recomend to readers who like slow and boring books.
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on October 7, 2003
A girl named Samantha Sanders was nine years old the day she found a local resident dead in a swamp near her house. Seven years later she was chasing her uncle's runaway dog miles into the swamp. She was out there in the swamp so long she had to stay the night in a stump for the night. In the middle of the night she thought she saw another dead body wrapped in a big cloth or blanket being carried by someone. It wasn't very clear because she was really tired and half-asleep. She was there until the next morning when she went to a neighbor's house in mid-morning. She met a young man named Chip who works with a friend at a bear refuge. This job is where they try to save bears, do studies, and tag and number the bears. Samantha and Chip become friends and become a couple. They try to find the swamp killer by using evidence, clues, and the cops to try and solve two murder mysteries.
I liked this book because it grabbed me and made me read more and more. It kept me interested most of the way through. The downside of this book was that it was boring in some parts. Some parts were hard to understand and slow. This book was creepy and I like those kinds of books. I got so creeped out that I had to stop reading.
I recommend this book to young adults because it's pretty easy to understand and it wasn't that big of a book. If you like mysteries this is the book for you! It's also kind of creepy so it's good for people who like creepy books.
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on November 26, 2001
The Weirdo
I read The Weirdo by Theodore Taylor. The book is about a nine-year-old girl named Samantha Sanders. One day she found a dead body of a man outside by her house. His name was Alvin Howell. Alvin had been found in a ditch of the swamp wearing a blue shirt that stuck out from everything else. The finding of this man would haunt her for the rest of her life.
Six years later she had decided to see Alvin's wife. She was an old lady a while away from the swamp. They talked about Alvin and the reaccuring dreams she had like he was trying to tell her something. He was. Alvin was trying to tell her who killed him. Everyone thought it was the weirdo who lived in the swamp. The weirdo had scars on his face because of a plane crash. Sam met the weirdo before by being saved by him from his roof after getting chased up by the dogs. I t was not him. They were both looking for the same killer and did not know it.
To find out who murdered Alvin and who killed another unfortunate soul you can read the book and find out for yourself. I would recommend this book to someone who likes mysteries starting at grade level 5.
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on May 9, 2014
The premise and descriptions of nature in this book are outstanding. The main characters, Chip and Sam are well-developed, but the supporting cast seems to fall victim to stereotypes and flat dialogue. The structure of the novel is ambitious, but the pogo sticking between Sam, Chip, Chip's college essays, jumps in time and the back story interrupts the reader's ability to engage with the plot and characters. Still, the book is a success, and definitely worth reading.
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VINE VOICEon March 7, 2009
A good reviewer always emphasizes positive aspects of a novel before the negative. However, I'm reversing the order this time because "The Weirdo" has such wonderful possibilities as a required reading book.

I am a generous star-giver, mainly because I rate a book based on its genre and type of book. I don't compare a young adult book with literary classics. I don't compare a thriller with a reflective thematic book. I wanted to give "The Weirdo" five stars, but the book has three problems.

The minor problem first: I don't like the title. Once we know "the weirdo," a severely disfigured teenager, burned in an airplane crash, the title loses its fear factor, which is never a problem for the other major character, Samantha (Sam) Sanders. The second problem--and a major one--is time sequencing. When the "kid reviewers" say the story is confusing, they are right. As an experienced reader (English teacher and librarian), I was confused, especially concerning the pivotal night-in-the-swamp episode. This time-line problem is caused by the writer's alternating narrative chapters by the Chip Clewt (the "weirdo") and Sam. The problem arises when Taylor merges them toward the end, making the time sequence for that important night episode confusing.

The third problem concerns "boring" as reported by "kid reviewers." Again, they are right. Halfway through, I set aside the book and read two others. When I picked this one up again, the pace picked up and the story went faster (also reported by "kid reviewers"). What causes "boring" are some chapters by Chip, written as beautiful college journal entries, which describe various aspects of the swamp. They really are a necessary part of plot and character development to show Chip's dedication to preservation of this beauty.

As for the positive points: What I want to emphasize is the book's important value as an addition to the young adult genre and ecological impact. The setting is the Dismal Swamp, National Wildlife Refuge in North Carolina, here called the Powhatan Swamp. In fact, the University of North Carolina, in conjunction with public schools, created a middle school resource unit, using "The Weirdo" as the central focus of a multi-disciplinary study. See Comment below for more information.

The two stories are rich in possibilities for teaching this novel. Sam's story takes place outside the refuge and involves suspense, mystery, and her father, who is a hunter for both pleasure and food. Chip's story is set inside the refuge and involves professional bear tagging for the local university, his isolation because of disfiguring injuries, and his opposition to lifting the ban against hunting in the refuge.

What ties the two stories together are an old murder, a missing person, and the potential lifting of the hunting ban. The most beautiful part of the novel is the developing relationship between Sam and Chip. That alone makes this novel worthy of being read.

All the positive aspects of this novel far outweigh the negative. In fact, "The Weirdo" is the required novel for summer reading for our incoming 8th grade class. My innovative, research-based principal and a former science teacher personally picked this novel because of the teaching unit mentioned earlier. Here in our corner of Louisiana we also have a national wildlife refuge, which is available to schools for field trips and guided nature walks. It will be incorporated into the unit.

This review is dedicated to the middle school teacher. Please read this novel. Think collaboration. Think possibilities.
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on November 21, 2008
This book is an insult to teenagers everywhere. For one thing, the sentence structure is poor, using too many commas, just so the sentences can be stretched out, longer and longer, melting the brain of whoever reads them, to the point of sending the reader, screaming, yelling, from the room. For another thing, it doesn't draw to a satisfying close. I was waiting for Theodore Taylor to say WHY the guy kills Alvin, but he never does. The story is almost too predictable, making it blatantly obvious who is the murderer early on. Sam and Chip are the only characters who are even remotely interesting.
The Weirdo becomes confusing in the middle, when it jumps around with almost no indication of where it is.
Please, do not waste your time on this awful book.
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on December 4, 2006
I really liked this book. It started with the adventures right away. Also the author explained the book really well so you can understand it.

This book had a bit of violence and creepy parts. It also had a bit of bad language. I would not recommend this book as a bed-time story. I also think it would be a good idea to read this book with your parents if you are younger than ten.
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on August 30, 2000
The book was well writen, a little slow reading at first but over all pretty good. Even if i was not made to read it i problably would've read it anyways. But if you have a choice what to read, read a book that also has cliff notes too, it helps if you want to fully understand the book.
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on February 26, 2004
The Weirdo
By: Theodore Taylor
The book I read was "The Weirdo," by Theodore Taylor. Its about this weirdo that falls in love for the care of bears and wants to extend the ban another 5 years. This is a Fiction book. The time it takes place is somewhere in the 1990`s. It takes place in a dark moist swamp. It also takes place at Sam`s home inside and out, and at the hunters meeting that Sam`s father, the Bo`sun, conjured up. The meeting was to try and convince people that they should kill the bears since they strip and ruin their juicy apple trees and destroy their beautiful yard.
Sam is a brave shy girl who is 16 years old. She had recently met a boy named Chip. They met by Sam yelling she was up on the roof. After she got over the shock of seeing his scarred face all the time, they became very close friends. Chip has been helping a graduate student, Tom Telford, from NC State, keep track of the bears. When he learns there are hardly any more bears left in the community, he decides he wants to try and extend the ban another 5 years before the hunters hunt and kill all the bears left. Then one day when Tom was heading through the swamp to visit his girlfriend, a poacher kidnapped him and supposedly murdered him. Sam thinks there might be a connection between Tom Telford and Alvin Howell. As you can see, Sam and Chip are very important characters in the story.
I think other kids and adults should read "The Weirdo" because it is a pretty good book to read and has a lot of suspense in it. The author put a lot of detail into the book so that we could understand parts of the book we didn't understand, like, he had to know a lot of information about bears and how to capture them in traps. Thats why I think people who like stories with lots of suspense, detail, and emotion should read this book.
My favorite part was towards the end of the book. It was when Sam`s Uncle Jack and Aunt Peaches came back from their vacation and started yelling their heads off at her because of the condition Buck (their dog) was in. That is my favorite part of the book. Thanks for using your time to read this!
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on July 12, 2008
This was required summer reading for my sons upcoming seventh grade class. He was required to answer questions about the book so I decided to read it along with him so I could help him. I found this book very easy to read. It was based in North Carolina (my home) so it was fascinating to read about areas that I was familiar with. It has a great plot and excitement in every chapter. My son has really enjoyed it. When we discuss it, he can give me details about the story and says what he likes about it. That is always a good sign that he is enjoying it. I think that the issues raised in the book are appropriate for his age group as this is the time that "saving the environment" seems to really kick into high gear. I would recommend this as a good read for anyone 12 and older.
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