Friday, April 5, 2013

Sticks and Stones by Emily Bazelon

I am a tremendous fan of Emily Bazelon - I have been ever since I started listening to her on the Slate podcasts and reading her blog articles there as well. I also loved her interview with Steven Colbert, which is what convinced me to get her new book. My husband bought it for me as my birthday present, which made it even more special!

I think that the idea for this book started in 2009 when Ms. Bazelon began writing articles on Slate about bullying and its impact on students. Social media seemed to amplify the impact of bullying on various groups and that piqued her concern and interest even more so. In this book, Bazelon attempts to define what bullying is, using three case studies, and attempts to provide some guidance to administrators and families in the hopes of reigning in bullying in the social media age.

I think that a lot of people assumed that this book would be really a self help book in disguise and it really isn't - you would know that Bazelon is NOT the self help type of journalist. She's got a really good background for this - having been trained as a lawyer. The case studies are interesting - one is a pretty famous case about the teen girl from Massachusetts that killed herself after having some nasty run ins with other teens in her school. Those teens were charged criminally as adults - a move that is still highly unusual. I loved how she used the case studies to define bullying and to provide examples of good things that were done and bad things that were done. The book itself was very well organized and made sense. It was also very readable-it was informative without talking down to people and informative without coming across as in your face, know-it-all. Her style is also engaging and I loved reading it.

This is an important book that we should all read.

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