Friday, October 26, 2007

Please Stop Laughing at Me by Jodee Blanco

Please Stop Laughing at Me, Jodee Blanco.
Avon, Mass.: Adams Media Corp., 2003. .

Jodee Blanco was teased in fifth grade for befriending a deaf girl who also had severe vision problems that also attended her school. When Ms. Blanco refused to play a mean trick on an elderly woman, her classmates turned against her. Sixth grade continued to be hell. In seventh grade, Ms. Blanco transferred to a school for the gifted.

But gifted kids are not immune to the lures of being bullies, and once again Ms. Blanco found herself on the fringe. By high school, she was getting beaten up regularly. She was also mocked for having a physical deformity which required surgery to correct. Her parents sent her to a shrink who recommended pills; and then to biofeedback sessions.

In the pages of this personal treatise on bullying, Ms. Blanco records her repeated public humiliations and grapples with serious issues.

...Why are the kids who get picked on by the school bullies always the ones who
end up being poked and prodded in psychiatrists' offices? Why aren't the bullies
ever taken to psychiatrists? Why do doctors keep telling the parents of the victims
that it's their children who need help? And what about the parents of the bullies?
What is wrong with all the adults? It seems that if you are mean or cruel to another
kid, that was "okay" because it was just a normal part of growing up. If you are on
the receiving end and allow it to bother you, you were the one who needs help. What
kind of logic was that? p. 87

Please Stop Laughing at Me has plenty of insights about vulnerability and humanity. Ms. Blanco matriculated into New York University (N.Y.U.) and later on became a media success. The reader will wince at the defeats of her earlier school years and applaud at what she has become.

For those who are intrigued by a sharp environmental analysis, the book is highly recommended.

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