Saturday, November 24, 2012

Part I Interview with Eric Gale, author of The Bully Book and International Giveaway

The Bully BookWelcome back, everyone! I'm excited to introduce this next author, Eric Kahn Gale, who has written an enjoyable book with a really important message.

Book description: 
There is a book that teaches you how to be the coolest kid in school and it’s ruining Eric Haskins' life. Right from the beginning of 6th grade, three boys turn the entire class against him. But Eric hears a conspiracy theory about “The Bully Book, a manual for ruling the school that's been past down through the years. The lynchpin of the system is selection of the Grunt, the kid that will be lowest of the low. Eric becomes a detective of the book, following a paper trail, seeking out previous year's Grunts, hoping he can find out why he's been chosen. If he can discover why he’s the Grunt, maybe he can change himself and his fate. 

The story of The Bully Book is told in Eric's journals and actual pages from the mysterious Bully Book.

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My review: I was sent this book by HarperCollins in exchange for an honest review.

I had never heard of The Bully Book by Eric Kahn Gale before I received it in the mail. Maybe you haven't either. But you should. This book stars another Eric, aptly named, since it is based on some of the author's own experiences. Anyone who has ever been bullied by their peers and anyone who has ever been a bully should read this book. Eric has been picked as The Grunt, and he quickly realizes that three other boys (one of which used to be his best friend) have some knowledge hidden away in a Bully Book that he must find to put an end to his torment. The book is set up in alternating chapters between the author of the Bully Book (the first bully) and Eric as he tries to figure out what is going on.

I thought the way the book was set up really worked and gives the reader a new perspective that hasn't been done before. The story has such an important message. As a pediatrician, I make it a standard of practice to always ask children if they are being bullied. Many times, I am completely surprised by their answers. I myself was bullied as a child, and it's not something I would wish on anyone. Sometimes, as we've seen in the news, it leads to tragic consequences.

Overall, I feel that the book was well-written in an engaging way, with a very important message that should be repeated until it is heard.  

Author Blurb: Eric grew up in Metro-Detroit, attended the University of Michigan with almost everyone he currently has contact with. He now lives in Chicago where he's working on his second book, and the script of a new musical.
1. Tell us a little about how you got the idea for The Bully Book and how your own personal experiences shaped certain events in the book.
When I was in elementary school, I was badly bullied. I was called all sorts of names, and it felt like my every move was mocked. My 5th grade teacher took every Monday off for two months to visit her sick father. On Mondays, we went around the class using vocabulary words in sentences. On the first week my teacher was out, one of my tormentors had the word "yonder." He used it in a sentence: "I can see Eric Gale's big head over yonder field." Everyone laughed, and the substitute did nothing about it. Soon everyone in the class was using their vocabulary words to make fun of me, and it went on like this for months.
It felt like there was some conspiracy amongst the class to make me miserable. I realize now that wasn't true, but it's how I felt at the time.
My family move districts between the 5th and 6th grade, and in my new school, I was a normal kid. The difference always struck me as strange. If there was something wrong with me, it would have traveled to the new school, and I would have been bullied there as well. But it was as though someone just needed to be the scapegoat at my old school, and for some reason, they chose me.
Years later, I heard a story on This American Life where a 1st grader imagined his bully had a book that taught you how to be mean to people. The idea stuck with me, and I felt this could be the narrative hook I needed to write this book. 
2. What most struck me about this book was how honest and raw the message is. What was the reception in general to this portrayal of bullying?
Most of the people who have read the book so far have been in high school and college, and they've written to me about the powerful emotions that the book draws out of them. Pain during the formative years really affects how a person sees the world and interacts with people. It still affects me, which is why I tried to include several adult characters who had bullying experiences in the novel.
A librarian who read the book took issue with my use of the word "gay." I address this concern in one of my blog posts:

3. I love how you alternate between the eyes of the bully and the bullied. Did you start off with this in mind, or was this something that developed over time?

I came up with the idea for the book in an afternoon, went home to talk it out with my roommate and sometimes writing partner. By that night, we had settled on the alternating format, which is one of my favorite aspects of the book.

Tune in tomorrow for the rest of this awesome interview! Until then, enter to win a signed ARC of this terrific book!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. I would like to thank you for a fantastic book giveaway, that i would love to have the oportunity of reading (& reviewing to help promote the authors work). It is wonderful to be able to hear about new, origonal and interesting titles and authors, and find out more about your thoughts on the books. It does sound like a brilliant read hence i have added it to my to-read list.
    Thank you once again for this chance. x

    Email: lfountain1(at)hotmail(dot)co(dot)uk

  2. I am very against any type of bullying. I teach my to daughters about bullying and why it is wrong.

    I am so proud of my 8 year old daughter she was at school and the class was at recess, there was these two girls picking on the little boy. The little boy told the two little girls to leave him alone and they wouldn't. My wonderful eight year old daughter went over to the two little girls and told them to leave the little boy alone and they did. She also stuck up for a little girl that was being picked on. I know it's long but I had to share my story with you.

    Thank you for the great giveaway! This book sounds great. I would love to read parts of it to my daughter so she can see how it feels to be bullied.

  3. Obviously,I'm against it.I can't understand people who take pleasure in bringing down others.

  4. Bullying is one of the topic I am super against because I used to be a victim. But not anymore because I'm stronger now.

    Thanks for the giveaway! :)

  5. I was bullied myself and understand the pain and torment a young person goes through. It got so bad that I chose to attend a high school outside of my district to avoid it.
    Kids are cruel.

  6. Yes bullying is wrong but I think we cannot tell people not to do it so it's a matter of having a high EQ or be numb and ignore and get over it.

  7. Nowadays, children get more and more cruel towards each other. I think its important to be able to help out those who are bullied as much as we can:)

  8. I am against bullying.

    I have a son who's in grade school. I am always fearful of him having a bully schoolmate. Kids can be cruel. This book will be of great help in educating kids as well as parents about bullying.

  9. Bullying is one of the topic I am super against because I used to be a victim. But not anymore because I'm stronger now.

    Thanks for the giveaway! :)

  10. i hate bullies, was when i was young, no more - regnod(at)yahoo(d0t)com

  11. hate em and feel sorry for them!