Well, #AntiBullyReads is finally over, and despite a quite slow start (I barely read anything before the weekend), I’m pretty happy with my results. I managed to read two whole books, and about half (the last half) of a third, and I even won a giveaway (the day 2 prize pack, which was donated by The Book People)! XD In this wrap-up, I’ve shared my thoughts on the books I read, and I’ve picked out what I thought was an appropriate Anti-Bullying Week quote from each of them. Enjoy!
Harry Potter & the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling. The illustrated edition! I’ve been reading this for a while, going slowly so as to savour the experience, but I thought that this was the perfect opportunity to finish it off – and I loved it! It’s an amazing book, of course, but reading it in this format, with all the beautiful illustrations (and they’re really lovely), was just perfect. XD My favourite anti-bullying quote from this first book:
Harry felt in the pocket of his robes and pulled out a Chocolate Frog, the very last one from the box Hermione had given him for Christmas. He gave it to Neville, who looked as though he might cry.
‘You’re worth twelve of Malfoy,’ Harry said.
Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb. The first book in the Farseer trilogy – a high fantasy series that follows Fitz, the illegitimate son of the heir to the throne, who is dumped on his father’s family and household, none of whom really know what to make of him. The story is written as if it’s a memoir – in first person, and with blanks in areas where Fitz has gaps in his memory (though thankfully that happens less and less as he ages) – which works really well, and lets you really get to know him before any of the real action begins, and brief segments at the beginning of each chapter talked about the history of the Farseer world, which was both interesting and very helpful in fleshing it out (especially since Fitz’s own world is so small, at least for the majority of the book). The characters, I also loved, particularly Fitz himself, as well as Prince Verity, Chade, Burrich, and a whole host of others.
In terms of bullying, I’ll confess that for most of the first half book there isn’t really any, excepting the mild disapproval that Fitz seems to garner wherever he goes. It wasn’t until near the halfway point that it became clear to me why this book was recommended for the readathon: Fitz finds himself at odds with one of his instructors, who is cruel to all his students, but seems to take particular joy in abusing and belittling Fitz – and, his spirit broken (or at least a little bit squished), he has difficulty mustering the will to respond. This is the advice that Burrich eventually gives him:
‘You didn’t fail, you fool. Galen tried to drive you away. If you don’t go back, you’ll have let him win. You have to go back and you have to learn it. But,’ and here he turned on me, and the anger in his eyes was for me, ‘You don’t have to stand there like a carter’s mule while he beats you. You’ve a birthright to his time and his knowledge. Make him give you what is yours. Don’t run away. No one ever gained anything by running away.’
I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson. The story of a pair of twins – Noah and Jude – once close, but torn apart by lies and misunderstandings, and their attempts to heal the breach. The book is divided into two parts, and jumps between Noah’s perspective just before the events that separated them, and Jude’s perspective a couple of years after, and it makes for a compelling narrative – we’re able to figure out bits and pieces of the mystery, but are never able to see the full picture before the end. I really enjoyed this book, in terms of story, characterisation and structure, but I also found it a little challenging at times, since Nelson uses so much artistic metaphor, which made it difficult to decipher what was real and what wasn’t (I might even go so far as to describe this as a magical realism book), but thankfully I was able to get used to it eventually.
It also doesn’t contain as much bullying as I thought it would. Noah is bullied a little at the beginning, and there’s a character introduced a little later on who worries a lot that he might be bullied, but on the whole, it was more of a coming-of-age, self-discovery type story. But regardless, here’s my favourite (kind of) anti-bullying quote from this book:
“Listen to me. It takes a lot of courage to be true to yourself, true to your heart. You always have been very brave that way and I pray you always will be. It’s your responsibility, Noah. Remember that.”