Google+ Reading Teen: Behind the Bully: Guest Post & Giveaway of SEND by Patty Blount

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Behind the Bully: Guest Post & Giveaway of SEND by Patty Blount



BEHIND THE BULLY
by Patty Blout

People often wonder how I got the idea for SEND and why I wrote it from the bully’s perspective. The answer to this question is a complicated one – actually, it is an answer with several parts that converged into what would ultimately become Dan Ellison’s story.

First, let me tell you about my son. When my oldest boy, Rob, was in sixth grade, he broke down in tears one gloomy night in April and told me he no longer wanted to live. To say I was surprised would be the biggest understatement in history. Turns out, he’d been the victim of bullies since the term began the previous September. I had no clue he was being tormented. I had no idea he was even unhappy. He was twelve years old and suffering through an early puberty. His classmates tormented him over his body hair, his acne, his deep voice and made him feel so freakish, he actually believed he was not normal. We got him help and spoke to his teachers and principal and my son finished out the year with no further incidents. He’s now in college but his scars are deep.

The second contributing factor occurred the following year, when Rob was in seventh grade. I’d left the house early one Saturday morning to run errands with my youngest son in tow. Rob was still sleeping when I left. When I returned to my house, I saw some guy hanging by his fingertips from my living room window. This guy turned out to be the older and very muscular brother of a classmate who claimed Rob was now bullying him. He came over to ‘talk some sense into him,’ which – judging by his confrontational demeanor – was code for ‘see how he likes it.’

I’ve been a parent for a long time now and I KNOW most of us are oblivious to our kids’ shortcomings and faults. I have seen so much denial in my life but trust me on this – the word ‘disbelief’ doesn’t even come close to describing my reaction. How could the same boy in so much pain barely a year earlier turn around and cause that same pain in someone else? Near as I was able to determine, since the child would not directly address us, Rob intimidated this child without meaning to. Rob is large: by sixth grade, he was shaving, had reached five foot nine inches tall, which put him about a foot and a half higher than most of his classmates. What he thought was fooling around or playing was perceived as something entirely different by this boy. Judging by the depth of Rob’s guilt after hearing the accusations from this boy’s family, I have to believe he never meant to intimidate or threaten anybody. His despair over this runs nearly as deep as his scars from sixth grade.

I’d been writing all my life and after Rob’s sixth and seventh grade ordeals, put all that on hold for a while. I picked it up again to write a contemporary romantic trilogy that had been burning in my brain for a few years. I’d finished book 1 and had books 2 and 3 outlined. That brings me to the next significant event – my day job. I write software instruction guides and several years ago, a new executive directed us to start using social media in our work. I didn’t even know what sites like Twitter were. So I started doing the research. I learned not only how people use these sites, but also how they abuse them. And somewhere in the back of my brain, a little voice whispered, “I did that.”

I became obsessed with the idea of guilt – or more specifically, living with that degree of guilt and wondered how a kid who’d done something without understanding the permanence or the reach of his action could endure such guilt. And that little voice replied, “I’ll let you know when I figure it out.”

This voice would not shut up. I’ll be honest, he really pissed me off. I wanted to write book 2 in my trilogy, not turn a bully into a tragic hero. It felt wrong – distasteful – disrespectful – even disloyal to my son. I wasn’t ready to forgive Rob’s bullies. I wasn’t sure I could especially since I knew forgiveness would be an important theme in this novel. The idea of torturing this character in effigy did hold a certain amount of appeal. I gave it a shot and found that the deeper I dove into Dan’s story, the more I actually liked him. The duality of Dan/Kenny was a nod to that persistent voice in my own head that compelled me to write this story – sort of an inside joke.

Would you be able to forgive your or your child’s bully? After reading SEND, do you think most bullies are like Dan and my son, and unaware that they’re causing any pain?


SEND
by Patty Blount
Reading level: Ages 13 and up
Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire (August 1, 2012)
Buy the book: Amazon
It's been five years since I clicked Send.
Four years since I got out of juvie.
Three months since I changed my name.
Two minutes since I met Julie.
A second to change my life.

All Dan wants for his senior year is to be invisible. This is his last chance at a semi–normal life. Nobody here knows who he is. Or what he's done. But on his first day at school, instead of turning away like everyone else, Dan breaks up a fight. Because Dan knows what it's like to be terrorized by a bully—he used to be one.

Now the whole school thinks he's some kind of hero—except Julie. She looks at him like she knows he has a secret. Like she knows his name isn't really Daniel...

a Rafflecopter giveaway

41 comments:

  1. Thanks for the giveaway! I really want to read this book now.

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  2. Wow this definately caught my interest!
    -Wendy

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  3. I'm so interested to see how she handled this topic. My latest book Shackled deals with teen relationship abuse and I know how hard it is to address sensitive topics. Can't wait to read it.
    angelacarling.blogspot.com

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  4. Very interesting. Thanks for the giveaway!

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  5. Thank you for the opportunity to win!

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  6. Sounds great! Really interested in seeing a different pov with bullying.

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  7. I read about the book and I've been waiting to read it. Thanks so much for the giveaway!

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  8. Send seems like a terrifyingly (in a good way) real take on the subject on bullying. Most to all people some point in their lives are either the instigators or victims, in some cases both. I'm a little scared to read it; I really don't want to end up a sobbing blob of a mess, but I'd want to read it.

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  9. Thanks for the giveaway!!! The book sounds amazing, and I can't wait to read it :D

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  10. This book sounds great! Thanks for the giveaway!

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  11. I LOVE contemporary YA, and there have to be more books about bullying. What's really cool - this one is from the bully's POV. A reformed bully.

    Thanks so much:)

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  12. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  13. After reading this blog post, I really want to read this book! I'm not a twitter girl, but I almost considered becoming one just for the extra chances at winning. I love the blurb, really interesting and would've grabbed me even without the post. Thanks for the giveaway and congrats on the guts to write such a story. I can't wait to read it!

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    1. Well, if I don't win, it's okay! As soon as I posted this, I got al the info on the book and sent a request to my library to purchase it. They agreed right away (SHOCKER! they always say 'no budget') and put it in the September order queue. I'll get to read it by middle of next month. YAY!

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  14. I experienced something very similiar with my son. He was bullied,(because of social awkardness caused by a learning disablity), went through puberty early, and another boy thought he was bullying him. Only, in our case, they ended up being friends, throughout school. After the other boy realized what was happening.
    In my case, though, I was a bit upset with the school. They were more than willing to help the other boy (for a nonexistant case of bullying), but never helped my son at all, when he was being bullied. In fact, in my case, the teachers were often the ones being the bullies, and the kids just followed them.

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  15. Hi, thank u for this giveaway. This bully thing is always become an issue, in every country. Sometimes I just don't understand why people had to bullying others and I don't understand why people let themselves getting bullied by others either. I really want to read this book, no doubt.

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  16. I think writing this book from the bully's perspective is very important. You really need to understand where he's/she's coming from so you know how to deal with the situation. Great idea!

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  17. Thanks for the giveaway! This book looks like a great read.

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  18. I've never heard of this book, but it sounds awesome!!

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  19. Thanks for hosting this awesome giveaway!! :D

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  20. The moment I read the blurb of this book, I've been dying to read it! I can hardly wait to lay my hands on it. :D

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  21. Send sounds great, Thx so much for giveaway.

    blinkysthebest at aol dot com

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  22. Me and my son dealt with bulling about two years ago. It was a hard year for him, but we got through it. This sounds like an awesome read. Thank you for the giveaway!

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  23. This book sounds amazing, can't wait to read it:)
    -JennyC

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  24. Thanks for the giveaway. I really want to read this book. Please enter me in contest. Tore923@aol.com

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  25. This book sounds like an interesting read. I'm putting it on my TBR list.

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  26. Sounds really good! Thanks for the chance to win!

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  27. Good luck to all of you. I really hope you like my story! Thanks for the review :)

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  28. Send sounds like such a good read. I'll be adding it to my TBR for sure. Thanks for the giveaway! :D

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  29. Okay. I definitely need to read this now. (This is Natasha I by the way)

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  30. This sounds like a book that should be on every middle school and high school library/classroom shelf. Thanks for the opportunity.

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  31. As a parent bullying is a concern that I dread. Sounds like this would be a good book to read.

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  32. Seems like such a great read dealing with an important topic.

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  33. As a parent this book sounds very interesting to me. It also sounds like one that I would like my kids and their friends to read also. Thanks so much for bringing it out to our attention. It would be great to win it but either way I do intend to read it. Thanks so much for giving us the heads up on it. ;-)

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  34. Looks like my kind of book. Hope to read it soon.

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  35. Love that edgy cover!! <3
    Send sounds like something I'd enjoy reading, too - thanks for the tres awesome giveaway!! :D

    Mary DeBorde M.A.D.

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  36. Wow, this is a huge issue around here, but I'm sure everywhere. At the high school my kids go to, a kid was being bullied. He turned around and planned to blow up the school with very precise directions. They found explosives in his house and also found his journal which had all the details in it.

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  37. Looks like an interesting book.

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