April 6, 2010

Max Quigley: Technically Not a Bully - by James Roy

Actually, Max IS a bully, which is kind of the point.  In The Watsons Go To Birmingham - 1963, Christopher Paul Curtis asks the reader, "Why is it bullies are always so funny?"  He could have been thinking of Max, who is a laugh a minute, even as he picks mercilessly on the nerdier kids in his fifth-grade class.  The thing is, Max doesn't see himself that way, even when he makes life miserable for super-geek Triffin Nordstrom, who Max nicknames "Nerdstrom".  Before you know it, these two boys find their lives intertwined, and as they learn more about one another, they learn that their similarities overcome their differences, and become best of friends.  Max learns his lesson, and is never a bully again.

NOT!  Max stays just as big a jerk as ever, but the boys do become kind of friends.  This book will spark good discussions about bullying, such as the fact that bullying isn't always black and white, and even nasty people aren't ALL nasty.  It's interesting and unusual to read a book from the bully's point of view, though it can also be unsettling.  This is an Australian book, so some references may be unfamiliar for American readers, and it may be tricky to find a copy, but I'd say it's worth the trouble. 

1 comment:

Momo said...

Thanks Mr K for your review of our Australian book. In my blog this book is called Problem Child. It is so weird how US publishers change the names of covers of our Australian books... Anyway I am so happy you enjoyed Max Quigley... and once again thanks for your blog I love reading your thoughful insights.