Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Shulman, Mark. Scrawl.

Shulman, Mark. Scrawl.
Roaring Brook Press see macmillan children's pub 2010 234p 16.99 978-1-59643-417-2 elem school bully is the wrong title for this young man VG-BN

When school genius/bully Tod is assigned ISS, he must write a daily journal for his guidance counselor. The journal chronicles the daily life of a kid who is so much more than a bully!
So often, a novel is written from the point of view of the victim. But what if the bully is the victim? Written from Tod Munn's perspective, this book shows that the persona which is that of a bully can result from a combination of life's circumstances, one's environment and one's genetics. What Mark Shulman has done is create a novel about bullying that is unique, presenting both sides in a comedic yet poignant fashion. How often does an audience side with the protagonist when he is a bully? Well, in this novel, the reader will do just that! Tod is a misfit, not wanting to conform, but still needing to be accepted. He makes choices every day to pick on kids who are weaker than he, then he joins in to support the school's artsy goth girl who is leading the school play by creating all of the costumes for her. Just the image of a boy searching a dumpster for clothing, breaking into a Salvation Army clothing bin and grabbing clothing off wash lines is priceless! To tell his life story, Tod writes a journal for the detention counselor and she answers him regularly in writing. Seeing potential in him, she relegates him to indoor punishment to write after he is caught trying to prevent his hoodlum buddies from burning down the auditorium. His daily writing describes his home, his school day, his friends Rex, Rod and Bernie and finally, his real feelings about life. In a surprise ending, popular girl Karen Dominick turns out to be a truly diabolical sort, using her reputation to hide the fact that she is the school bully who has been tormenting the same students as Tod, but in a far more intimidating fashion! The book is priceless, the characterizations are powerful and the plot flies along! Please note the absence of a period on p. 37...warned Nadine. The period is absent.
The pause on p. 2 seems to be confusing, but the story picks up on p. 20. Might be misunderstood.
Realistic Fiction Squaresky, Martha

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