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Anti-Bullying Zone Review: "Chuckie"

I: "Blending In"

Jeff Erno
Dreamspinner Press, 158 pages
August 12, 2011

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"Chuckie" Mini Review

Chuckie is the second short story in the book Bullied by Jeff Erno, and it is another heartwrenching one, guys. With overlying homophobic bullying is the center of the book overall, this one concentrates much more on the physical violence involved in bullying. Whereas last time, in Blending In, I felt helpless and moved to tears. This time, in Chuckie, I got angry. Really angry and hurt, and I cried frustrated tears until the ending. To find power in one's physical capabilities in overpowering another person is one of the ugliest facets of human nature. Some of these teens are so defenseless against it, and being that they don't open up about it, they get beaten up day after day, and become a big fat target every day.

Chuckie is about a teenage boy who gets tossed around and pummeled every day in the boy's locker room, for being assumed homosexual and weak. His name is actually Charles but the guys intentionally call him Chuckie, a name that he hates. The main one pounding on him, David, is one of the honcho jocks, and he takes pleasure and power out of beating him every day. It isn't until David's girlfriend, a drama star and close friend of Charles, takes a stand and asks him to look after Charles that he stops incessantly ridiculing him and hurting him. He even gets to know him a little bit.

For me, it was very hard to just forgive David, even when he redeems himself in the end by sticking up for Charles. The things that he did to Charles caused so much pain in me, I just... I found it hard to let it go. There's one tear-jerker of a scene that made me hate him until the very end of the book. For someone to take it upon themselves to punish someone with public humiliation is downright atrocious. And I admired Charles for being so brave.

The ending, I'm glad to say, left me satisfied and content. I was happy with the way things turned out for Charles. My heart warmed at the thought of him finally being safe.

(Note: I'll be reading a single short story from this book every week and reviewing it for my anti-bullying campaign! If you would like to help in any way, please feel free to fill out this form.)

...But the song's not a solo; she's singing to the male lead. I'm shocked when he turns to face the audience and begins to sing. Confidently and clearly he delivers his musical lines, and is presence on stage is commanding. I can't believe it's Chuckie.

I feel my mouth drop open, and I shake my head, somewhat bewildered...

He now doesn't seem so wimpy.


Shae Carcar said...

I definitely believe in anti-bullying. I've never had to deal with something like that, thank god. But my friend has, and it would affect her so much.

A. Knight said...

I've dealt with bullying, but never to that extent, which I'm thankful for. I don't ever want my friends or family to go through that, nor other kids, so I'm trying to spread the word as much as possible(:

I hope your friend has become a strong and wonderful person...