I remember three books I’ve read about bullying in the past. In all three, the victims were boys.
In William Golding’s Lord of the Flies, Piggy is an obvious victim. He’s obese, he wears thick glasses and he says all the wrong things. He remains that way to the bitter end.
Marcus, in Nick Hornby’s About a Boy, is a bit strange. I loved this book but was disappointed in the end when Marcus stopped being strange with no transition from one state to the other.
In Nineteen Minutes, Jodi Picoult does a great job of portraying Peter, the boy who has taken as much as he can and gets his revenge by going on a shooting spree. (I’m not giving anything away because this happens right at the beginning.) When it comes to Josie, the plot becomes unbelievable, in my view, but that’s another topic.
Jeff Gardiner‘s Myopia, which I read recently, has a much more believable plot. It’s aimed at young adults, and so I had to get used to the style, but it works very well and definitely held my interest.
And yet I was disappointed when I finished it. Jerry, the victim, seemed too normal. The bullying eventually turned him into a hero. It all seemed too easy.
Then my vision cleared as I realised what my problem was. This story isn’t my story. It’s very different. But that doesn’t make it any less valid. In fact, it’s probably more typical than mine. And all stories about bullying serve a useful purpose in helping readers to understand what bullying does.
Well done, Jeff, for tackling this difficult topic in such a sensitive way.
Writing the above list made me realise that I’ve never read a book about a girl who is bullied. Have you? Can you recommend one?
4 replies on “Blurred Vision”
Bullying happens in so many different ways, which has led some teens to raging out or committing self-inflicted acts. Bullying happens differently to people and it’s interesting to see various aspects in various books.
I wrote ‘Myopia’ with the intention of giving victims of bullying some practical solutions, without ever resorting to violence. I wanted to explore the idea that victims and those standing by (us) can actually do something practical. Jerry makes mistakes and becomes over-confident, but at least he stands up to his bully without ever becoming as bad as him. I never wanted ‘Myopia’ to be another story about the suffering – but about giving teenagers the chance to assert themselves against prejudice and ignorance. There is hope and, sometimes, redemption.
You succeeded admirably. Possibly, reading such a book as a teen would have helped me. By the way, my story also has a happy ending. It just took a lot longer to reach it.