Bully by Penelope DouglasPublished June 17th 2013 by Penelope Douglas
Genre: Contemporary Romance, New Adult
Rating: 2 Stars
Reviewed on March 30, 2015
We're neighbors, and once, we were best friends. But then, one summer, he turned on me and has made it his mission to screw up my life at every opportunity. I've been humiliated, shut out, and gossiped about all through high school. His pranks and rumors got more sadistic as time wore on, and I made myself sick trying to hide from him. I worried about what was around every corner and behind every door.
So I left.
I spent a year studying abroad and bathed in the freedom of life without Jared. Now I'm back to finish up high school and get the hell out of here forever. I'm hoping that after a year of breathing room, he's moved on and forgotten all about me.
But even if he hasn't changed, I have. I'm not interested in avoiding him or turning the other cheek anymore. We're going to go head to head, because neither of us wants to back down.
What I’m about to write is going to be very personal. I hope you’ll be able to stick with me through it.
Bully touched me on an emotional level. A terribly ugly level.
I think very few people I know would understand how I feel about the subject of bullies. And I'm not talking about those with experience of being bullied. I'm talking about those who shift from the bullied to the bully.
I'm talking about me. The person I used to be in middle school and high school.
I was bullied. Then I became the bully. And it felt good as hell. I felt powerful when I verbally abused my people; when I threatened to attack them; when I almost made good on my word to beat the living shit out of them.
I targeted boys. That's right. Me, a girl? Bullying boys I saw underneath me? Bullying the boys who made fun of me? Was I fighting back? Was I doing it for kicks?
All of the above.
With the fire I spit, my heart would threaten to pound out of my chest and my words would leave a bittersweet aftertaste in my mouth. It was an overwhelming sensation that made me feel powerful and in control for once. I was addicted to the feeling.
It’s very true that bullies can be victims themselves, whether at home or at school.
When I was bullied, it never resulted in anything more than being prodded and laughed at. It was nothing worth crying over, but it hurt as hell. It may sound like nothing when I put like this, I know. But looking back, it was huge. Being tormented when you're already dealing with enough bullshit at home? Ditching school almost every day because you couldn't stand to be surrounded by people who were happier than you? People who didn’t understand you and thought you were an attention whore?
I remember in middle school I threatened to punch a male classmate of mine in the face just because I knew I could.
In my freshman year, I remembered I lost control at these kids who were messing with me and I lashed out in the middle of a class lesson. I turned around to face my tormentors and yelled something along the lines, "You better fucking stop." Dead silence ensued. Then I swung a crumbled paper at a male classmate, who had thrown it at me in the first place, and it smacked him in the chest. Not one of my biggest moments. It was wrong of me.
My classmates would definitely remember me after this episode. That is if they didn't already identify me as the quiet, stuck-up Asian girl who came to class late or didn’t come to school at all. My tormentors left me alone after this and didn't acknowledge my presence since. Even the ones who only watched, laughed, and hadn't engaged stopped trying to understand me.
Yes, in some way, I stood up to them . . . But I didn't stop there.
"Courage spawns more courage," isn't that how the saying goes?
Outside class, I ran into my big sister. I was pissed off as hell and I realized one of my classmates was nearby. I looked straight at him, and even as I talked to my sister, he knew my words were directed at him. I believed I called him a stupid piece of white shit and other names I can't recall. I needed him to know my feelings about him. I needed him to know I would hurt him if he ever messed with me again because I was completely done with him. I glared and snarled at him whenever I could because he was the one person I hated the most.
I was stupid to bring myself down to his level.
What had I done to myself? More importantly, should I’ve had feel guilty that I didn't feel guilty at the time when I said those things? If I hadn't fought back, who would have fought for me? If I didn't stand up for myself, how long would it have continued?
I wasn't a victim. I didn't deserve to lay claim to a title I forsaken in order to hurt others. I was a hypocrite. I was a mess. And I was a human. A weak one.
That was part of my hell.
That was who I was.
I'm not proud of it, but I would be lying if I said I regret it. Because why should I waste my time regretting experiences I learned from and made me a better person today?
I will say I wouldn’t want anyone becoming a bully, no matter what you’ve been through. Don’t do that to yourself. Don’t cross that line. You won’t like the person you become. You are not a stronger person by bullying someone else.
And if you see someone being bullied, stand up for this person. Don’t walk away or watch. It’s funny as long as it doesn’t happen to you, right?
Now that this is all said and done, you now understand why I can relate to Tate. I like to connect with characters on a simple level. Not on a “Holy fuck! This person is me!” level. And yet, it couldn’t be avoided when I read Bully. Only my story didn’t end up being a romantic one. Lucky me.
I almost gave up on Bully because 1) The smut turned me off, 2) Some parts of the story was ridiculous and too melodramatic, 3) Jared’s excuses are fucking stupid, 4) Tate is fucking stupid and loves slut shaming, 5) Fuck Jared. His birthday is on October 2nd. My birthday is on October 2nd. I must be a devil too. Anyhow, however, I kept on reading for Tate and because this book is fucked up as hell. Like a car wreck.
Did I enjoy the ride?
Sort of. More than I should have. Despite my overall rating, I would rate my enjoyment level four stars (and that's only for the first half). And I hate myself for it.
Emily's review perfectly explains why I think Bully is a terrible book and isn't worth anyone's time, despite even if you might enjoy it.
“What was worse than losing you was when you started to hurt me. Your words and actions made me hate coming to school. They made me uncomfortable in my own home.” I swallowed, and the knot in my chest lessened. “Everything still hurts, but I know none of it is my fault. There are a lot of words that I could use to describe you, but the only one that includes sad, angry, miserable, and pitiful is ‘coward.’ In a year, I’ll be gone, and you’ll be nothing but some washout whose height of existence was in high school.” My eyes were still on Jared, and my voice got strong again. The ache in my face from trying to hold back tears eased. “You were my tempest, my thunder cloud, my tree in the downpour. I loved all those things, and I loved you. But now? You’re a fucking drought. I thought that all the assholes drove German cars, but it turns out that pricks in Mustangs can still leave scars.”
Let us began my reading journey that I will show you through gifs.
Tate, you bloodthirsty wench.
Mary Poppins fucking applauds you.
Letting out a fake pitiful sigh, he declared, “I’ll have you in tears in no time.” His tone was calm and decisive. I believed every word.
Taking a long breath, my eyes narrowed at him. “You’ve already made me cry countless times.” I raised my middle finger to him slowly, and asked, “Do you know what this is?” I took my middle finger and patted the corner of my eye with it. “It’s me, wiping away the last tear you’ll ever get.”
Everything you touch turn into shit.
Aren’t I a pleasant person? Look at what this book has done to me.
Fuck you, Bully.
And I'm especially not reading Aflame.
When something ends, let it fucking end.