Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Please Stop Laughing At Me: Book Review
In this timely update of the seminal classic, author and activist Jodee Blanco reveals how she simply set out to share her own heartbreaking story -- and ended up igniting a grassroots movement in the nation's schools. Along with an all-new Letter to My Readers, Reader's Guide, and Resources Section, she also offers the latest information on cyberbullying; the Adult Survivor of Peer Abuse; her in-school anti-bullying program, INJJA (It's NOT Just Joking Around!™); and where to go for help.
While other children were daydreaming about dances, first kisses, and college, Jodee Blanco was trying to figure out how to go from homeroom to study hall without being taunted or spit upon as she walked through the halls.
This powerful, unforgettable memoir chronicles how one child was shunned -- and even physically abused -- by her classmates from elementary school through high school. It is an unflinching look at what it means to be the outcast, how even the most loving parents can get it all wrong, why schools are often unable to prevent disaster, and how bullying has been misunderstood and mishandled by the mental health community.
You will be shocked, moved, and ultimately inspired by this harrowing tale of survival against insurmountable odds. This vivid story will open your eyes to the harsh realities and long-term consequences of bullying -- and how all of us can make a difference in the lives of teens today.
About The Author:
Survivor, expert, and activist Jodee Blanco is one of the country's pre-eminent voices on the subject of bullying. Inspired by the thousands of letters she receives from students, parents, teachers, and Adult Survivors, Jodee has become one of the nation's most sought-after keynote speakers, seminar presenters, and crises consultants. More than half a million students, teachers, and parents have participated in her acclaimed anti-bullying program It's NOT Just Joking Around!™. Her story of survival and forgiveness has drawn the attention of the national media, as well as recognition from the United States government. Jodee is also the author of Please Stop Laughing at Us . . . One Survivor's Extraordinary Quest to Prevent School Bullying, the sequel to Please Stop Laughing at Me . . . One Woman's Inspirational Story.
Please visit Jodee's website, www.jodeeblanco.com, for more information on her books, tour and speaking engagements.
This is a book EVERY parent and teacher NEEDS to read!
In a day and age when many schools and school boards have zero tolerance policies in place against bullying it amazes me that bullying still occurs. I would not say that bullying in and of itself has increased, (compared to when I was in school 20 years ago) but the methods are so much more sophisticated, as well as crueler, and parents and education professionals need to know this!
Jodee Blanco takes a no-holds barred approach in Please Stop Laughing At Me and tells parts of her story in a raw, hard manner. But you can't look at bullying with rose-colored glasses. Something needs to be done to save not just the bullied, but also the bullies themselves. It is not enough to prevent the bullying from happening, which is most important, but we need to understand why bullies do what they do (what motivates the behavior). I think that Blanco does a fantastic job at doing both by telling her story. She does not get all analytical and preachy. She states what has happened to her, so adults and teens can take from her experiences and hopefully come out on top with new knowledge.
I did not have the pleasure of reading the first version of this book, but I love that this updated version includes information regarding cyberbullying. You will have the opportunity to also read a question and answer section with the author, which was very enlightening, and there is a list of a ton of resources about bullying at the back of the book.
Please Stop Laughing At Me is not so much a how-to prevent bullying but more of a how-to move on from being bullied to put the past behind you and learn from the experience. It is the tough situations that make us stronger. In the Q & A section of the book, Blanco is asked why she would go to a high school reunion when she was treated so badly. I loved her answer:
"I've always believed that you have to face your fears or they'll hold you hostage. And when you do find that courage, the universe will rewards you. When I walked into my reunion, all I could think about was getting satisfaction, being able to look my former bullies in the eye knowing how far I'd come since we were kids. Instead, I got so much more...I forgave them because that night I learned they never hated me, they just didn't understand me. More importantly, I forgave myself for believing I was unlovable because of how they treated me. When I let go of all that pain, my former tormentors and I not only became friends, but today, they're an important part of my life. They help me with my anti-bullying efforts, and I value their input and insights, because after all, they were there with me. Life is full of wonderful surprises..." (p.274)
Please take the time to read this very important book. It is very easy to read, however I do warn you that there is some descriptions and situations that are not appropriate for all ages. Use your judgement when reading and discussing this book with the teens in your life.
I highly recommend this book and give it a huge thumbs up!
BUY IT: You can purchase Please Stop Laughing At Me online through Amazon.com and Amazon.ca - it is also available through your favorite, local bookseller.
***I received a complimentary copy of this book courtesy of FSB Media and the publisher. All opinions expressed are my own, and I have not been compensated in any other manner***