July 16, 2012
Cornered: 15 Stories of Bullying and Defiance by Rhoda Belleza
Some bullies use fists and feet as their weapons. Others rely on words, sharp as knives. It can also take place anywhere — at school or at home or out on the street. That’s probably why there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution.
But it’s also why book like this are so important.
I won’t lie to you. This is a tough read. It may surprise you that the hardest ones to read are often about the bullies themselves. In part, this is because the authors bring so much empathy to their stories and their characters. Its painful enough when the main character is the one who is bullied. It is almost unendurable when the main character is the violent one, the bully who is acting out against someone else.
Editor Rhoda Belleza has pulled together a wide range of stories by top writers. By far my favorite is “Nemesis” by Kirsten Miller in which a girl uses e-media to stop the bullying. This isn’t a simple story of bullies getting their just desserts because, in the end, the main character has to make a choice. Do you stop someone from being bullied if you have a rock solid reason to wish them ill?
Brendan Halpin’s story, “How Auto-Tune Saved My Life,” is another favorite. Why? Because it deals with an all-too-common reality, academic bullying. Jennifer Brown’s “But Not Forgotten” deals with the hell of suicide.
This is an excellent book for teens but I wouldn’t recommend it for younger readers. Yes, they too have to deal with bullying but as a Mom I just can’t see turning a tween loose with some of these stories. They are just that gut wrenching, but then again maybe that was because I am a Mom. It happens.
This would make an excellent choice for sparking off discussions on this vary difficult topic. I’m saving it for my thirteen year-old to read when he’s a bit older. It isn’t a depressing book — it is actually full of hope. But it is still a very difficult book to read. Worthwhile, but difficult.