The Bully Book

The Bully Book

A Novel

eBook - 2012
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In this story told alternately through journal entries and instructions from a bullying manual, sixth-grader Eric embarks on a quest to find the reason why he is being teased and tormented in middle school.
Publisher: New York : HarperCollins, 2012
ISBN: 9780062125156
Characteristics: 1 online resource


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Jan 27, 2016

Although I haven't read this book and therefore cannot comment on it, some years back, out of curiousity, I checked out the bully types in the schools I had attended (secondary and high school) and learned that almost all the bully characters had died, most at a relatively young age? The few others I'm unsure of as they appeared to have disappeared completely and couldn't find any information on them. [Evidently, longevity doesn't favor the bullies, although there are notable exceptions: David Rockefeller, Bush, et cetera]

Jan 27, 2016

The library copy of this book had a cracked spine, worn cover, and looked, I imagine, like the actual Bully Book might in the story. This was a hard book for me to read, as a parent of a 6th grader (I'm an aspiring middle grade author), but I'm glad I did as it evoked much empathy in me for the underdog, the kids in the school who look so miserable and conflicted. I especially liked the element of mystery, who wrote it and why, and who is The Grunt and how is he picked. Well written (from Eric's point of view interwoven with "the book"). Couldn't put it down.

Vilka Feb 10, 2015

I think someone recorded my entire Grade 6 experience and put it in a book. Actually, it's loosely based on the author's Grade 6 experience of being relentlessly, mercilessly bullied and picked on by everyone in his class. The difference is, the boy in the book finds out that the ringleaders are in possession of a secret bullying manual passed down to every Grade 6 class, teaching them how to put themselves at the top of the social hierarchy by choosing someone else to put at the bottom--that someone being the boy in question, who goes on a mission to find this book and find out why the heck HE was chosen, and who the heck wrote that book in the first place. Good mystery elements, and a very heartfelt portrayal of the mental and emotional sides of what it's like to be that kid everyone picks on for no apparent reason, and the manipulative games they have to deal with. I think anyone who's ever been a target of bullying will strongly identify with this story.

JCLChrisK Apr 30, 2013

Emotional Intelligence for Sharks: The Manual. Or, How to Create Friends and Influence Everyone to Your Greatest Personal Advantage. Or, Social Skills for Social Climbers. Or, "How to Make Trouble without Getting in Trouble, Rule the School, and Be the Man."

That last is the title of the first chapter of "The Book." It teaches readers that social status is all a matter of perception and how they can manipulate perceptions among their classmates so that they are top dog. Key to being on top is creating and defining a bottom. It means turning some unlucky classmate into "The Grunt" and making that person the butt of everyone's negative attention. With everyone unified about whom to mock, they'll be equally unified about whom to admire.

That's what Eric has to deal with--only he doesn't know it; because "The Book" is a secret, known only to a select few, passed down each year from one set of ruling sixth graders to the hand-chosen next. All Eric knows is that suddenly everything has changed with the start of sixth grade. Without reason or explanation, the class bully has suddenly singled him out as his prime victim, his (former) best friend has turned on him, and all of his classmates seem to be joining in. He has become the target of a coordinated campaign of terror, undermined constantly in ways that turn even the adults against him. Without violence or physical threat, simply using social tactics.

It nearly destroys Eric, as he lives in constant fear and begins to believe what everyone is saying about him. Luckily, a few hints are dropped and he begins to see there is more to this than random chance. He doesn't know what it is, but he learns there exists a "Book" directing everything and that he is not the first "Grunt." Unfortunately, as he investigates he stumbles upon previous Grunts and learns they have never recovered, that they are haunted, isolated social misfits, and he can't find a way to throw off the label. He is determined not to become like them, but he has no idea how to stop it from happening.

I think what I appreciated most about this book is what it accomplishes without ever feeling preachy or didactic. First and foremost, it is a gripping story. Second, it is honest about the insidious depth and cruelty of bully realities. The brief pages of "The Book" are interspersed with sections of Eric's journal, alternating the shark wisdom with the perspective of the victim. It was so much more effective and enlightening than I ever thought it could be when I picked it out based on the cover.

branch_reviews Mar 27, 2013

The Bully Book is written as a handbook for future bullies, a handbook that has been passed down to each grade 6 class at Arborland Elementary School, a fact that is unknown to most of the students. The graduating upperclassmen select the three new “Bully Bookers” each year and initiate them with a secret ceremony. The Bully Bookers then pick “The Grunt” among their classmates and follow the Bully Book instructions on how to isolate, torment and bully The Grunt throughout the school year, making him the outcast of the school and thus ensuring that they will become top of the social pack and never be on the bottom. Only this year, it is Eric Haskins who is chosen as The Grunt, and after a brief period of bewilderment as to why all of this is happening and why the Bully Bookers came after him, Eric decides to unlock the mystery of The Bully Book and fight back against the boys who are making his life at school so miserable. Reviewed by DH

Age Suitability

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Jul 28, 2018

NerdyBookaholic thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 10 and 13

Jul 04, 2017

teniola5 thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 8 and 13

branch_reviews Mar 27, 2013

branch_reviews thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 8 and 12


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