(Cover picture courtesy of Teen Ink’s Facebook page.)
WORDS ARE POWERFUL- they can inflict damage and they can heal. In this anthology of first-person accounts written by teenagers for both their peers and adults, words transform pain into hope and the possibility for change.
Bullying Under Attack is an eye-opening anthology of all three players in the bullying cycle. These conversational essays on life as the bullied, the bully, and the bystander provide insight and inspiration for change. Rather than offer a cumbersome psychological breakdown, this graceful and hard-hitting book places the reader firmly in the shoes of all involved.
The stories written by The Bullied explain the subtleties and agony of harassment, helping readers understand that there is more to unkind words and behavior than “just joking around.” Although many of these teens have suffered through harassment by their peers, their essays are both empowering and inspiring. By exploring the essays by The Bullies, readers will discover that the bullies are often times incorrectly labled as bad kids, but many are simply trying to fit in, despite their own insecurities and fears. While these bullies may still have their own seemingly insurmountable obstacles at home, they share their experiences and insights hoping to manage and reforming other bullies. The section voiced by The Bystander shares tales of those who have regrettably watched and those who have stepped up to help others. Here, readers will find the inspiration to speak out rather than just standing by while others are emotionally harmed.
Whether due to race, weight, or jealousy, there are a myriad of reasons WHY. Included in this startling compendium of personal stories that convey the complexity and nuances of what it means to be bullied, are stories of regret, promises, and encouragement that will help readers find solace during their teen years and show them how—as adults—their words and actions can provide strength and reassurance to others experiencing all aspects of bullying. Ultimately, they will learn to find their voices in order to break the cycle for good.
[Full disclosure: I received a free ebook through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.]
You know, I’ve read a lot about bullying and why kids do it, the stories of victims, etc. And although Bullying Under Attack is being touted as eye-opening, it isn’t anything new. Truly, I admire all of the teens in this anthology for writing about their experiences in a generally coherent manner, but in truth they don’t really have any ground-breaking wisdom to share about the topic of bullying. If you haven’t read any first person accounts of bullying this will probably be an eye-opener for you, but other than that this is pretty much what everyone is saying.
With that said, Bullying Under Attack is still a good book. It was well edited and generally well written by the teens who contributed. Some writers had excellent mature voices whereas others gave away their young age right away. And you know what? That’s okay. This is an anthology essentially by teens for teens. If it stops even one teen from bullying another or one person from standing by and just letting bullying happen, I’ll be happy.
The formatting of my NetGalley copy sucked, to be perfectly blunt. Yet I’m reasonably sure that the real Kindle copy of the anthology will be much better formatted. It was not the easiest to read at times, but the teens involved in this got their points across with sometimes extremely blunt honesty. The only thing I can really criticize is that there should have been a better balance of the three types of writers (bullies, victims, bystanders).
I give this book 4/5 stars.