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Anti-Bullying Zone Review: "Saved"

I: "Blending In"
II: "Chuckie"

Jeff Erno
Dreamspinner Press, 158 pages
August 12, 2011

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"Saved" Mini Review

"Saved" is the third short story in Jeff Erno's Bullied, and this one centers on interpretation of religion and relating that to homosexuals. The bullying, while it bothered me immensely, wasn't what stood out to me in this story. It was actually the focus on Christianity and how homosexuals are viewed in religion. How tormented followers full of faith must feel when they realize their true sexuality. It's heartbreaking and horrible to imagine how this must tear up the mind. The fact that God might not accept you or love you if you veer off the beaten path.

In "Saved" two boys named Jonathon and Curtis have been longtime best friends, since grade school. Jon hasn't fully realized Curtis's sexuality. Until they hit high school. It was painful to read on as Jon slowly distanced himself from Curtis once he started becoming popular and Curtis was accused of being gay, like it's an insult. Jon abandons his friend (much to my chagrin) and leaves him helpless in the face of his new 'friends' who act as Curtis's tormentors. I honestly felt sick to my stomach, to think of myself doing that to a friend...

And while the bullies wield the bible as a hurtful weapon against Curtis, Curtis is the one who truly portrays what the Bible is all about - love, forgiveness, respect, among other themes. Curtis is quick to forgive and forget, do his best to move on, and treasure his lost friend although Jon treated him so badly. Curtis is a kind of person I can admire, someone who I want desperately to emulate.

While the writing wasn't as appealing in this story, the story itself moved me in a different way than the previous two have. I can appreciate the execution of the message of "Saved."

(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.)

I'll always cherish your friendship, and I hope you have the best Christmas ever.