Book Review: Bully Under Attack

The publisher provided me with a copy of this book to review via NetGalley.

When I saw this book written by bully victims, bullies and bystanders I immediately wanted to read it. Bullying is a topic that is close to my heart. While many books have been written on the subject I have been offended by a great number of them because they simply don’t do a good job of exploring the bullying issue and in fact I have often felt those writing books about bullying have never themselves been bullied.

Now before I get into the book itself I just want to quickly touch on why bullying is a topic I keep a close eye on. From the early years of public school all the way up to when I went to University I was bullied, and not just now and then, but every single day and it only got progressively worse. It didn’t matter what I did or who I went to about it the bullying never stopped. I was given the usual advice of “Ignore them”, “Toughen up”, “They’re just kids being kids” and “Oh, you’re just overreacting”. Needless to say after years of this I became pretty dejected and started to hate school, when I had originally loved it. Bullying to me had become such a regular thing that it was like breathing to me, a day wouldn’t go by when bullying wasn’t a part of it. And to make it worse it wasn’t just the kids at school but over time even my family started to bully me, though they will flatly deny it even to this day. Bullying shaped my life and for a long time it made it for the worse but with many, many years behind me I have been able to overcome the negative effects of bullying. Yes, I do still have days where it affects me even now but those are very rare occasions.

Because of my past I was both excited and terrified to read this book. I was really hoping this book on bullying would be different than many of the others I have read in the past but I was also worried that it may dredge up the past and help to resurface all the fears and doubts I dealt with for over half my life.

This book was an excellent look into the world of bullying, but unlike most books it did not solely focus on the victims of bullying but also had personal accounts from the bullies as well as those bystanders who stood by and either let bullying happen or stood up to a particular bully. Seeing the full spectrum of the bullying cycle really made this book stand out among the others on the subject. How often do we get to hear about the bullies side? Or from the person who watched it happen? Almost never. This book not only showed their side of the story but also proved that those people can and will change as well, though it often takes something big to force them to change their ways. It also spoke of how far too often, even with anti-bullying programs in effect now, parents, teachers and other adults simply overlook bullying or think that the bullied child is simply overreacting.

I really wish a book like this had have been available when I was going through my years of torment. But I am happy that it is available now, that those either affected by bullying can seek it out as a resource to let them know there are others out there, both on the giving and receiving end, that are or have gone through the same thing or caused it and that there is a bright side. No things might not get better overnight but they will, and I can attest to that. I would highly recommend this book to everyone, but especially parents who kids are either starting school soon or are in school now, so that they know what to look for and so they can be proactive in helping stop bullying in their child’s life. I also want to thank all the teens who put their stories into this book, I know it took a lot of courage to put your personal stories and struggles out there for the world to see and I think it is amazing that they did this.

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