Monday, August 22, 2011

Review: Dear Bully: 70 Authors Tell their Stories

It didn't take much for me to say yes to reading and reviewing the very timely compilation, Dear Bully: 70 Authors Tell their Stories. This book compiles the stories of 70 successful and brave authors as they tell young adults of their own struggles with being bullied, being the bully, or watching as others were bullied. Authors like R.L. Stine, Rachel Vail, Carolyn Mackler, Daniel Waters and Eric Luper all participate in sharing their stories.

I feel like I can't review this book without sharing some of my own story. I, too, was the subject of bullying when I was in elementary school. I had 3 strikes against me - I was fat, I had glasses, and I had braces. Not only was I four-eyed metal mouth, but the kids also yelled BOOM, BABA, BOOOM, BABA, and pretended they were in an earthquake as I ran during forced games of kickball on the playground.

I remember the day in the 4th grade that I, all of a sudden with no explanation, wasn't even good enough to sit at the same lunch table with. In my class of 20, in my tiny little school - if I sat down first, then they all sat at the other end of the table. It was horrible and I went home from school every day in tears.

I remember the girl who used to be my best friend calling me up after school one day and telling me that she can't be my friend at school because of the other kids, but she would throw me a bone and talk to me on the phone after school. I remember crying with relief and being willing to let that be enough.

High school was better. I stopped caring as much what all my classmates thought of me. We traveled to other towns a lot for sports (I was a cheerleader for basketball and football and volleyball player), and I started making friends in other towns. I wasn't terribly athletic, but going to those games and being able to make (REAL) friends really got me through those years.

Wow - all these memories. Funny, I'm Facebook friends with most of these people. I doubt they even remember the torment they put me through...

After reading this book, and also seeing all the news media about bullying, I just want to shake all the kids who are tormenting others, and cry for the kids who have to deal with it. I personally think that this book should be required reading for all kids in the 7th grade. I'd even be so bold as to say a compilation for younger kids should be written as well.

One of the main themes running through the stories is "it will get better." In my experience, that's true. You find new circles of friends (REAL friends) to hang out with. You stop caring as much what those bullys think of you. You become a stronger you.

There are also lots of resources listed at the end of this book so one has access to the help they need. For more information, please visit the Dear Bully website. And while the book doesn't actually come out until September 6th, please know that a portion of the book’s proceeds will go to STOMP Out Bullying, a national anti-bullying and cyber bullying program for kids and teens.


bermudaonion said...

I think so many kids who are bullies are modeling behavior they see at home. I do think books like this are important, but I wonder if bullies see themselves in the pages.

Jennifer said...

I admire you for telling your story. Kids need to know that we do survive our youth. It's very different out of grade school and high school and out into the real world. Things seem magnified as kids. It's important to find someone to connect with, to talk to, to be friends with regardless of your age. This helps us get through the rough patches in life. By the way, you're AWESOME! Thanks for this review and post.