this is a thank you letter/ review of a book i emailed to the author. i got really intense and ended up rambling. its a review of his first novel “the bully book,” which came out towards the end of 2012. it wasn’t an amazing piece of writing, no piece of art, but it brilliantly embodied the emotions and feelings of a child who has been bullied, and a child with low self-esteem.
Dear Eric/ Mr. Gale,
Hello! Howdy. My name is Belle, and I am a junior in high school somewhere in the midwest.
I recently finished the Bully Book and felt the need to tell you how much I loved it. Nothing in this email will be ground breaking. I don’t have a really emotional story to tell. My praise of this book doesn’t really mean anything since I’m only a 16 year old girl. But I really REALLY enjoyed this book, and I would have been disappointed in myself if I didn’t tell you how much I appreciated it.
I read this book in two days. I couldn’t put it down. From a literary perspective, the plot impressed me greatly. The way different things in the book are connected to each other, and the clues are given throughout the book. The reference to Little White Lie was a neat little shout out to all the starkids reading the book.
What really made me love the book, though, was the characters. Especially Eric. My favorite books are those that have characters that are realistic, and are easily related to. I like the characters who have flaws, and obviously don’t belong in a fairytale. Characters like Jay Gatsby from The Great Gatsby, or Gene from A Separate Peace. Gatsby was obviously consumed with his longing for Daisy, and he was also a gangstahh. Gene was controlled by his jealousy, but he was so realistic I couldn’t help but love him. He was so easy to relate to because he wasn’t perfect; he was real.
The same thing can be said of Eric. He definitely had his flaws. He wasn’t the best of friends to Colin, and wasn’t willing to communicate with Melody to mend their relationship. But these flaws are something all of us have felt, and we understand how he feels. The fact that its so easy to understand Eric makes me love him so much more. He’s also a hero. He took charge when he discovered the existence of the book. His courage makes him different from all the past Grunts. I believe the Evil Three made a terrible mistake when they chose him as the Grunt. Eric’s courage allowed him to break the cycle of the Bully Book. I’m not sure he ever realized the fact he wasn’t standard. Eric’s willingness to stand up to the bullies makes him more unique than most middle schoolers.
Recently, I’ve been discovering writing as an art form and developing my appreciation for it. I’ve been reading classic literature (for class mostly), blogs, and have attempted writing myself. I appreciate writings about depressing subjects; these subjects have the ability to effect people more so than other writings. Sad writings seem to arouse the really serious feelings and thoughts of people. They make you think and consider others. The same can be said about music and art. I really appreciated the journal entry which Eric described how unhappy he was with himself, journal entry #19, I believe. This journal beautifully describes the pain and depression of a bullied kid. It has the ability to make people cry. It highlights the pain a child with low self confidence feels. I felt like I could relate with how depressed he was feeling, and how unhappy he felt with himself. This particular part of the book beautifully described all of the self-esteem troubles of middle and high schoolers.
I’m going to pass around my copy of the book to my friends, and ask them to read it as well. Although the bullying isn’t nearly as obvious at my high school, self esteem is a major problem among my friends. I believe that they will relate to the book, and seeing their own feelings written down in that certain journal entry will jump start the building back up their confidence.
Thank you for sharing this book with us. It must have been personal and I appreciate you opening up to us and sharing your experience. The hardships you might have faced as a child are helping all of us children now. I wish you well with everything.
Love and admiration, Belle