Jerry Spinelli is sadly one of the only writers who can successfully spin a tall tale in a believable and attractive way. Maniac Magee is one of the best tall-tales around. And even though I’ve seen Crash on the library shelves since my elementary days, it took me ten years to finally get off my butt and check it out from library.
I have to admit that the baby with the mustache on the cover threw me off a little, but as soon as you open the book you are thrown into a warm and endearing story of a bully turned best-friend. Now, this story was a little hard to read because the main character is a bully who terrorizes a poor Quaker kid that doesn’t believe in violence, or eating meat. Now, these are two qualities that I hold very dear to myself. (well, actually I love sushi too much to give up on meat entirely).
What an interesting way to write a story, though. To have the first person voice be through the eyes of a bully. What is truly frightening, though, is that there were some parts of this book where I found that I had experienced the same actions and thoughts as the main character! Have I been a bully? I didn’t think so. Not until I read this book, anyways.
It haunts me to think of how many people read this book and thought the same thing. Am I a bully? Do I come across as such a jerk? I’m sure some of it is due to self-consciousness, but I also think that the moments in which we hurt others unintentionally are common occurrences. Therefore, this book is something I think we should all read.
No matter how kind-hearted we are, unselfish, thoughtful, or sensitive, we all experience moments of bullying. And while we usually only remember what wrongs are done to us, this book is such a poignant look into the kinds of people we can be without realizing it.
Maybe we all need to read about ourselves every once in a while.