Saturday, April 27, 2013

Mini-Review: Dear Bully: Seventy Authors Tell Their Stories

Dear Bully by Seventy Authors (Anthology)
Release Date: September 6 2011
Publisher: HarperTeen
Source: Bought 

Discover how Lauren Kate transformed the feeling of that one mean girl getting under her skin into her first novel, how Lauren Oliver learned to celebrate ambiguity in her classmates and in herself, and how R.L. Stine turned being the "funny guy" into the best defense against the bullies in his class.

Today's top authors for teens come together to share their stories about bullying—as silent observers on the sidelines of high school, as victims, and as perpetrators—in a collection at turns moving and self-effacing, but always deeply personal.
This book was hard to read for me. I’d read reviews before for books that dealt with sexual assault or another topic that might “trigger” something in the reader. I never understood what that meant until I read this book. The thing is, I was bullied a lot when I was younger. As I read this book, I remembered all the times I was called fat, ugly, stupid, poor, rich, teacher’s pet, obnoxious and so much more. It was hard and I cried numerous times and for that reason, I both hated and loved this book. While some stories didn’t connect with me as much as others, I’m glad this book was written. Something I’ve learned recently was proven with this book: the bullying doesn’t get better, you do (thanks to this video).

I was surprised at some of the authors mentioned in this book. Lauren Oliver, R. L. Stein, Jessica Brody, Kiersten White, Ellen Hopkins, and Megan McCafferty have stories in this anthology. All of these writers that I’d come to love and respect had been bullied? I didn’t think it was possible. No, I’m not an ignorant girl but sometimes, the people we look up to seem like perfect people. For some reason, it allowed me to connect to these authors even more. Bullying is something that never leaves a person, even if you bullied a person or were bullied, so that was rather nice, for a lack of a better word. Yet another aspect that surprised me: some of the authors had bullied someone or had stood by while others bullied someone, which was heartbreaking. I respected all of the authors who admitted to doing something wrong. I think I can say that all of these authors aren’t teenagers and at their age, their actions (or lack of) at such a young age still has an impact on them.

While, yes, I did find some stories to be questioning, the majority of the stories felt real and honest. I think everyone, not just kids, need to read this book. While the stories are short (these stories are after all, part of an anthology), they do impact the reader in some way or another. For me, someone who has been bullied and has bullied (I thought of it as payback), this book took me almost two weeks to get through. No matter who you are, this book will make you think. It might make you cry and it might break your heart. Read it and find out.
Cover Comments: 
First thoughts: Um. What?
Comments: So, I like this cover having read the book. The face looks sad and haunted and screaming for help, in my opinion.