Creating a Community in ‘Dear Bully’

Bullying is defined as unwanted, aggressive behavior that involves a real or perceived power imbalance (stop bullying.gov). Dear Bully 70 Authors Tell Their Stories delves into this serious issue and shines a light on its lasting impact. This book is an anthology of unique perspectives by famous authors who have experienced the hardships of bullying and want to convey the feeling of acceptance. The different anecdotes in Dear Bully 70 Authors Tell Their Stories, prove that there is a commonality in the experiences of being victimized, leading to the conclusion that you are not alone.

In fact, the main author, Hopkins, and her sons have all suffered from this kind of intimidation (Hopkins,1). Hopkin’s connection with bullying played a deciding role in creating this book and spreading a meaningful and positive message. She states, “…more than half of all bullying events are never reported at all. So, it is our job… to stand up and take notice. By sharing their wider view, they hope you’ll choose to join our village. To help us create safe communities, homes, and schools where everyone is valued for who they are…” (Hopkins, 6). Due to her own personal background, Hopkins is attempting to spread the message that she wishes she had found support for when she was younger. Bullying victims all around the world will find understanding and acknowledgment to be able to cope with the situation. The main thesis that the author attempts to prove is that bullying is an awful act that should not be tolerated. The basis of this book is showing how multiple people were impacted by bullying and never able to forget their aggressors. Even years later, authors such as Jo Knowles state, “These images and words have stayed with me all my life. They have stayed with me just like the other stories…” (Knowles, 266). Throughout all of the contributions, it is clear that everybody remembered their bullies, because of the lasting psychological damage that remained with them throughout their lives.

An example of this claim is Laurie Faria Stolarz. She states, “Dear Bully, I’m not sure if you remember me. But I definitely remember you. You were my first real bully-the boy who made me fear getting out of bed in the morning, who made me dread the end of the weekend because I’d have to see you the next day, and who prompted me to take self-defense classes” (Stolarz, 9). Despite the fact that all of these stories were different, each one shows that the consequences experienced by the victims were consistently similar. One important claim the author makes is that it is not anybody’s fault for being bullied. Hopkins states in the beginning, “Chubby or skinny; geek smart or challenged; gay or perceived that way; black, brown, yellow, or any color other that the person hurling insults. Any of these things can make someone a target” (Hopkins, 4). A story that represents this claim is a poem by Micol Ostow, titled, “Twenty-Eight Things I’ve been made fun of for.” In this poem, Ostow states that he was bullied for, “Being half-Jewish. Being half-Puerto Rican. Not being Jewish enough. Not being Latina enough. Having less money than some of my classmates. Having more money than some of my classmates…Being fat. Being thin “(Ostow, 84). This poem conveys how no matter what an individual does or is, a bully that wants to intimidate, will find a weak spot. Despite the fact that Ostow remained the same person, a number of bullies managed to find different flaws about his character, that were even contradictory. Even if somebody changes, there will always be another villain waiting to push that individual back down. The author is stating that if a person feels the need to change, he/she should do it for his/herself and not for a bully. Another point in the book is that it is just as unacceptable to ignore the issue as it is to be the perpetrator.

Bystanders, adults, and teachers owe it to bullying victims to help them break away from this cycle. One story that especially stood out about this is “There’s a light” by Saundra Mitchell. In a part of the story, Mitchell tells her mother that she ran away from school because people were mean to her, everybody made fun of her, and she was alone. However, her mother responded by saying, “…you can’t run away from school… she told me I needed to ignore them… I shouldn’t give them the satisfaction of a response” (Mitchell, 86). Later on, Mitchell attempted to commit suicide, and even so she and her mother, “…never, every talked about why I ate those pills” (Mitchell, 88). Mitchell almost killed herself because her own mother would not listen to her and help her. A terrible act, could have been prevented if she received the support she needed. We owe it to bully victims to help them, because otherwise we are turning our backs on a societal issue with repercussions. Dear Bully 70 Authors Tell Their Stories is a collection of real stories about bullying from 70 different authors. As a result, this book is nonfiction, yet it is mainly based on anecdotal evidence. This type of evidence is presented through true experiences from real people. Anecdotal evidence is a good choice for creating a book raising awareness about bullying, because bullying is more connected with the amount of emotional pain that it causes. When readers connect with the authors and comprehend the effects, they are much more inclined to understand the truth behind bullying. By sharing their raw and personal stories, the authors are presenting a wider view of the subject (Hopkins, 6). The number of people involved in bullying can be represented with statistics, but understanding those individual victims and hearing their story is much more powerful.

Another piece of evidence that the author used was statistics. In the beginning of the book, Hopkins included horrifying facts such as “A child commits suicide as a direct result of being bullied once every half hour, with 19,000 bullied children attempting to commit suicide over the course of one year” (Hopkins, 4). Anecdotal evidence plays a huge role in this book, yet these statistics are also crucial to the impact on this topic. The record is set straight that bullying is a true issue that has consequences. These statistics are hard, cold facts with which no one can argue.

Some people can easily believe that bullying is an inevitable and positive experience that can make a person stronger. However, when presented with data such as how many people take their own lives due to bullying, there is no excuse for this injustice. Dear Bully 70 Authors Tell Their Stories is a valuable collection of anecdotes that can inspire others to share their stories. From victims, tormenters, heroes, to bystanders, all of these ideas are present in this book, and they give readers a chance to observe all perspectives. Bullying is still a serious complication in this world, and as long as these actions continue to take place, this anthology will have the ability to give readers hope and a sense of belonging.