Thursday, November 29, 2012

Review: The Bully Book by Eric Kahn Gale

  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 12/26/2012
  • Pages: 240
  • Source: ARC provided by publisher for review
Purchase: Amazon | B&N | The Book Depository

The rules governing middle school are often a mystery, but for Eric Haskins, they’re a mystery he needs to solve, and fast. He’s a normal, average kid, until sixth grade starts. For some inexplicable reason, the class bully and his pack make Eric the Grunt. Even his best friend since first grade turns on him. Eric can’t figure out why he’s the Grunt until he hears about the Bully Book, a cryptic guide that teaches you how to “make trouble without getting in trouble, rule the school and be the man” and how to select the Grunt-the kid who will become the lowest of the low.

Eric Haskins may be this year’s Grunt for now, but he’s determined not to stay at the bottom of the social ladder forever. Hilarious and compelling, The Bully Book is a must-read for every tween, tween parent, librarian and educator!
 My Thoughts

Bullying is nothing new, it's been going on forever. Only recently it has gotten more attention. It's a sad and horrible thing. When I heard about this book I knew it was something I wanted to read. Being a tween is hard enough without adding in getting picked on, singled out, made to doubt yourself. In this book, we not only read Eric's journal entries accounting his hardships of being the Grunt, but also we get to read along with the Bully Book too. I thought the format of writing was fabulous as it weaves Eric's personal story in with the Book that teaches the holder how to be the top of the class. What I thought was more heartbreaking while reading about some of the things Eric went through in the book, was the fact that this is actually an account of what the author actually went through in school told, as he says "through the lens of a mystery novel."

Eric is an eleven year old boy. It's his last year being in the elementary school since middle school doesn't start until 7th grade. He starts school expecting things to be normal. Sitting with his friends, being bored through class, but nothing like what it ends up being for him. Right away his best friend turns on him and goes to hang out with the jerks of the class. He then learns about the book and makes it his mission to figure out how the Grunt is chosen. He searches out former Grunts and slowly starts to learn what he needs to get a hold of the book. I thought he was a very tough kid. I would have broken eventually, but each time they try to push him further down, the more he is determined to find the way to not be the Grunt anymore.

It's a short book that follows Eric through the school year as he searches out The Book. I wanted to reach out to him, I wanted to help him. But then also, I felt bad for the person who wrote The Book too. You know that he had to be going through his own personal things. No it doesn't make it right that he did it, but while going back and forth from the passages of The Book and Eric's journal, it gives you a little insight into the person who created the book too. I think that this book should be in every school library for everyone to read. With bullying such a big issue, the more books like this that can be out there the better. Was this a blow my mind book? No, but what it was, was a great book that shows you the struggles of a boy trying to just be normal, minding his own business, and being singled out because The Book says that he is just the right person to be the Grunt. But also not letting the bullies take him down, and being stronger because of it.


16 comments:

  1. Hmmm...might have to kick butt in this book. The teacher in me has NO patience for bullying.

    Valerie

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    1. It's so sad because the teachers just ignore it in the book too. I felt so sad for Eric, totally singled out, alone, and his whole class is against him.

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  2. Bullying is always a tough topic to write about. I'm glad to hear that you were emotionally invested in this book. It sounds like such a sad story, especially since it's based on the author's own experiences. :(
    Lovely review, Amy!

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    1. I know! When I was reading it I was thinking about how awful he must feel at times, and then I was so sad that these things actually happened.

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  3. This sounds like one that I would love! I am such a sucker for a punch in the gut story. I hadn't heard of this one before so I will definitely be looking for it. Thanks for bringing it to my attention Amy!

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    1. It's a super quick read too. It wasn't a huge emotional punch to the gut type book, but rather a slow steady ache that wouldn't go away.

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  4. Sounds like this book has a good message. I like that. Nice review love!

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    1. Thanks chick! I really thought this was a great book.

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  5. Love that there are books like this and I'm really glad schools and parents are talking more about how to deal with bullying. Back when I was growing up, it was just "oh, kids will be kids." And that's ridiculous. Kids need to be taught that you don't have to be BFFs with everyone but you do need to treat everyone with respect.

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    1. I know! It's so great to see more books like this around. Like you said, when we were kids we were told to suck it up and deal with it.

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  6. I got this book for review too! I like the way you make it sound. It has a message that everyone needs to hear. Thanks for the awesome review :)

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  7. I love Val's comment! I can't tell you how many times I've gotten into gifts when I've stopped bullies from picking on kids. I agree, this should be available for all kids.great review!

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    1. I want to just put this book into the hands kids everywhere. I am so glad that there are so many great books that tackle the topic of bullying now. We didn't have stuff like that growing up.

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  8. Ahhh I'm still reading this one! I kept stopping to read other ones but seriously! I feel so bad for the author he must've gone through SO much pain as a kid! And it's just absolutely horrifying to read about how severe bullying can get at such a young age too. Okay, so maybe some of my classmates were already breaking into the school at that time (REALLY long story involving a library, three boys, and a rumor about peeing on the books) but still. I feel super bad!

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    1. I loved how he incorporated the journal entries into the Bully Book too. It was excellent. It was so sad what he went through, but I loved seeing his determination to change it and stop it from happening.

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