Yes, it’s been a while, and yes, I’m skipping over 1984 completely. What I read after that was much more important a narrative.
Please Stop Laughing at Me is Jodee Blanco’s story of childhood bullying, and is a painfully clear picture of why it is so very important to pay attention to our children. I’m using “our” in a general sense as I have no children of my own but plenty in my life.
What amazed me about Jodee’s story was the unwillingness of the adults in her life to take her experiences seriously—they blamed her for being different from her peers and not fitting in, they said she was exaggerating, they sent her to a psychiatrist, they put her on medication, they moved her to different schools. The only thing they did not do was believe her when she said she was being tormented. I screamed at the adults in this book several times, but I only put it down when the necessities of life—work, food, a clean pair of pants—forced me to. I would share this book with any person who has a child in their life that they care about.
There is a dangerous mentality that “kids will be kids.” The thing is, it should not be in a child’s nature to physically assault another child. I cried actual tears many times during this read. It was good, heartbreakingly good. It makes you want to hug your child—or niece, nephew, cousin, sister, brother, Godchild—and beg them to tell you if anything is happening to them at school, camp, in the neighborhood, or anywhere else they gather with other children. Please Stop Laughing at Me makes you want to pay attention.
Jodee’s story is special in that she made her way through it. So many other children do not. A lot of schools are manufacturing social environments where everybody wins, everyone gets a trophy, and this makes it difficult for some children to face the simplest of disappointments, let alone the level of torment Jodee and others like her experience(d).
Please Stop Laughing at Me did not disappoint, and I’m positive it could help save a child’s life. Pick it up, download it, share it. You won’t regret it.
In my next post…who knows. I’m currently reading Toni Morrison’s Paradise. I will be adding more personal art, and will link it here once I do.