Principals and Other Schoolyard Bullies

Nick Fonda, Author
Nick Fonda. Baraka Books (www.barakabooks.com), $19.95 trade paper (188p) ISBN 9781926824079
Open Ebook - 188 pages - 978-1-926824-43-7
Ebook - 189 pages - 978-1-926824-44-4
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With unadorned language and quiet resolution, Fonda (Roads to Richmond: Portraits of Quebec's Eastern Townships) tackles childhood problems in frequently rural, wintry Canadian settings. Narrated by outcast youths or adults whose current circumstances trigger memories, these stories explore how victims learn to assert themselves or let bygones pass in the face of bullies with unclear motives. Cruelty appears as its own raison d'ĂȘtre; it reaches an extreme in "Sugden," a story of suspected, attempted murder during class play rehearsals, and "The Thumb," which concludes with evidence of dismemberment. Other stories focus on less egregious, but still emotionally-raw incidents: a home-schooled student adjusts to a mainstream classroom; a mistreated nephew rebels; a hospital worker considers delaying a former bully's treatment. Despite the unfairness his characters face, they largely persevere, suggesting that memories of what others have said or done with ill intentions do not have to become lifelong burdens. The collection may be best suited to readers intrigued by tales of challenging behavior in schools, though a general audience may find the limited reflection hinders an otherwise worthy theme. (Sept.)
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