As many of you know, bullying among teenagers and adolescents has been gaining more and more media attention as the severity and frequency of these episodes intensifies. Many of the teenagers and younger adults I work with frequently come to me with the desire to heal from these difficult experiences that leave such shaming and traumatizing marks on their developing psyches. Furthermore, the phenomenon of bullying is now evolving from the traditional school yard or hallway fight to more nuanced and inescapable arenas in social media, which nearly every American teenager now uses. Anthony Breznican’s novel, Brutal Youth, is a book I recently stumbled upon that captures some of the complexities that bullying culture and practices can entail. In it, Breznican touches on how the chaos and confusion that young people face in having to grow up in an increasingly more complicated world can have them oscillating between protagonist and antagonist in any given situation.
“As the story goes on you see how a kid goes from someone who will run out in the middle of danger to save somebody he doesn’t even know, to possibly becoming the one who’s trying to cause the pain.”
I highly recommend this book to anyone whose life has drastically been affected from having been bullied, or for any parents who are trying to better empathize and understand what their teenagers may be going through.