Book Review – Please Stop Laughing At Me…

I can’t even remember how I found this book, but I know that I downloaded it on my nook color. It took me awhile to get around to it, and thank goodness I finally did! What an eye-opener, especially for a teacher.

Jodee Blanco, the author, was bullied throughout the majority of her school years. I don’t mean snide remarks like, “Oh hey braceface, you’re ugly!”, I mean physical and verbal abuse. Changing schools didn’t help, and even when Jodee would make friends, she’d find herself without them after some time. One example of the bullying she suffered that especially stood out to me was a time in high school: Jodee was waiting for her mom to pick her up from school one snowy winter day, and heard some of the football players approaching behind her. When they got to her, four of them pinned her down, two of them pried her mouth open, and a few others shoved snow into her mouth until they noticed that she was gagging. Jodee’s story is sickening, especially to learn that adults who should have been helping her only gave excuses such as “Kids are kids”. It’s clear how lasting the effects of bullying can be when Jodee talks about how scared she was to go into her 20-year reunion; she sat in the car for an hour before she worked up the courage.

Once I finished the book, which only took about two days, I found myself thinking back on students I’ve taught and kids I went to school with, hoping that things were never like this, and hoping that I didn’t let bullying slide by without realizing it. This book should be mandatory for anyone who works with kids of any age, to remind us again why bullying cannot be accepted. As a reader, you come to care deeply for Jodee and really empathize with the anguish she experienced nearly every single day of her school career. Definitely highly recommended!

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