Posts Tagged 'bullying'



Please Stop Laughing at Me by Jodee Blanco

Genre:  Realistic Fiction

Age Level:  14 and up

# of pages:  273

RAC Book:  Yes

This real life tale follows a girl who faced heavy bullying from fifth grade on through high school despite being transferred to two new schools in the process.  Her parents hated seeing her as an outcast and tried everything they could think of to help her fit in including buying her designer clothes and taking her to a psychiatrist.  Unfortunately, the solution offerred by the psychiatrist was to put her on medication and have her try harder to fit in socially.  At the crux of all her problems in every school was her insistance on defending those around her who needed it.  Those people ranged from nerds to physically handicapped students. Every community is different and faces difference kinds of bullying, but it is hard as an adult to look at students picking on those who have disabilities. 

 There are instances where Jodee finds people who are willing to be friends with her, but almost always those people are presssured by the mass to back away again.  If things weren’t bad enough, Jodee also has a physical condition that she is unable to remedy until she turns seventeen.  Of course, once this condition is discovered the students make fun of her even more. 

In the end, Jodee attends her high school reunion, which seems unusual considering she hated these people so much she wrote a book about the experience.  She comes to find that several of those people do not remember what they said or did or pretend like they don’t.  Since Jodee is now very successful they all want to congratulate her and be her friend.  Forgiveness is a powerful virtue, but it seemed almost too easy for Jodee to forgive these people after the physical and emotional abuse she experienced that sent her into a depression in high school.  The fact she is able to share this story will be a comfort to those enduring the same thing and possibly a wake up call for those instigating it.  It’s a powerful story that all teenagers should read and discuss.

 

 

 

What My Girlfriend Doesn’t Know by Sonya Sones

Genre:  Realistic Fiction

Age Level:  14 and up

# of pages:  291

RAC Book:  Yes

In this sequel to What My Mother Doesn’t Know we find out what happened when Sophie went to sit with Robin instead of her friends.  Instead of supporting her new relationship with the school outcast, her friends and everyone else choose to cast out Sophie as well.  Since this book is told from Robin’s perspective we find out just how difficult it is to be a social outcast.  His name is even used as an insult toward others.  Even though he tries to be cool with the teasing and cruel jokes, this story makes it very clear how much it hurts him not to fit in anywhere.

As Robin is a gifted art student he is invited to audit a Harvard art class and finds himself immersed in an environment where he is not treated as a freak, but instead as a person.  He finds these classes as an escape from daily life because as bad as it was being an outcast, it feels worse now that he has made Sophie one too.  Sophie refuses to give in, however, and insists that everything will be all right, but at times things at school get so bad that neither one of them seem to believe that.

What My Girlfriend Doesn’t Know is an interesting story because we pick up with a new character telling the story.  We see the relationship through a boy’s eyes, which changes the perspective quite a bit.  Bullying is a strong theme in this book and while the students can be extremely cruel at times it never seems unrealistic.  High school students can be capable of anything if the circumstances align.  Students who enjoyed the first book will enjoy seeing how the relationship continues, but hopefully they will also take notice of how bullying effects those on the receiving end and not be so tolerant of what they see, hear, or actually do.


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