Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Tolog Review: Dear Bully

Dear Bully: 70 Authors Tell Their Story
edited by Megan Kelley Hall and Carrie Jones
reviewed by Meghan Sullivan

Dear Bully: 70 Authors Tell Their Story, edited by Megan Kelley Hall and Carrie Jones, tells the incredible and true stories of over 70 authors and their experience with bullying. The variety of short stories talk about all the different sides of bullying; the victim, the bystander and the bully himself. The goal of the book is to “create safe communities, homes, and schools, where everyone is valued for who they are, not in spite of their differences but because of them” (Hall and Jones 6). A truly inspirational book, where all the different people who bullying affects come forward to tell their story. While each story is unique, they all focus on the same theme; the dire need to stop the perpetual hate that exists in our society.

This book does a fantastic job of explaining how prevalent and widespread bullying is, and how many different forms bullying can take. While it does deal with traditional bullying, such as teasing, name calling, and physical violence, it also talks about other kinds of harassment, such as emotional and mental manipulation, abusive relationships, and molestation. In addition, this book does an amazing job showing all sides of the story, including the bully, which truly sets this book apart. The book explains that in some cases the bully never intends to be mean and is only trying to fit in; or how other times they are simply not aware of the consequences of their actions. Dear Bully also explains the thought process and reasoning behind the bystanders; they never speak up because they are afraid of becoming the target. 

In these inspiring stories, the many authors tell of the harassment they receive, gave, or watch from the sidelines. They look back on the different events and talk about what they should say or do but did not. They address their bullies and thank them because they “learned what really [matters]” and how “to be [their] own person” (Hall and Jones 32) because of the struggles they have been through. They thank the bullies for allowing them to learn who they really are, and showing them their true friends.There are also personal apologies; stories brimming with regret for words the authors say or do not say, for walking away when another human needs help or for pushing someone when they are down. Authors write of how they stand on the sidelines and watch, and still regret it years later. People tell of the cruel words they say or jokes they play during that point in their lives. Many different people who are or have been bullied tell how it does not only affect one person but changes the life of the victim, the bystander, and the bully.

Because so many different authors contribute to the book, there are so many different writing styles and techniques. Some tell their story through a comic strip, while others write a poem. However, this adds to the quality of the book. Everyone prefers different styles of writing, and because there are so many different authors, the reader is bound to enjoy at least one of the writing techniques.This format for the book allows the reader to enjoy styles they are familiar with and like as well as give the reader the opportunity to experience new writing styles they would not read on their own. The length of the stories and variety of styles allows the book to relate to many different types of readers who enjoy different types of writing. 

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