Thursday, January 10, 2013

The Bully Book in Print

When the YouTube channel for Team StarKid (the group behind A Very Potter Musical and others) released a book trailer for The Bully Book by Eric Kahn Gale last month, I was surprised to find a question in the comments wondering why StarKid was promoting this book. I was also surprised to find that many other commenters who were planning on getting the book hadn't heard of it before. I read the book over a year ago--and they call themselves StarKids?

You see, this book came out in 2011 as an ebook, self-published by the author. I even wrote a ridiculous (or not so ridiculous) comparison of The Bully Book to John Gardner's Grendel. I would recommend you go back and read that post (link here) because, in it, I also placed some general commentary on The Bully Book. While I was concerned I might not have given it the attention it deserved, in looking back at my post I find that I stated the gist of things correctly (of course, certain comments are out of date now and not applicable to the new, print edition of the book).

One thing I would like to add came into mind after I went to Barnes & Noble yesterday to buy the hard copy. After glancing at the post-holiday sales, I wandered into the children's section--and it had been a while since I'd been in there. It's such a partitioned off section that it almost feels like I'm not supposed to spend much time there, being older than twelve years old. (Although this wasn't as silly as the time I went there to buy books for a college class--that made me giggle.) Why, tell me, is this book (and many other books) labeled for an age group? Just because the characters are in 6th grade, does it follow that the readers must be in 6th grade? In fact, I think that this book might end up more meaningful to people who are older, at least in their early twenties--I am already finding it more meaningful now than I did back when I read it in September 2011. It's looking back on experiences of youth like this that can bring about a powerful reading experience. But I digress: I mean to say nothing against this particular book's labeling (since all books are forced into labels)--I only mean to encourage other people who are outside of its age group to give the book a try.

You'll also notice a funny thing about the book jacket: it only covers the bottom two-thirds of the book. I was wondering why it should be this way, until I took it off to discover, underneath, The Book. How nifty! It's like having the novel and a piece of book merch all in one (and, yes, you have to have read at least some of the book to see what I'm talking about).

So for fans of StarKid, fans of YA, and fans of fiction on social structures/relationships, The Bully Book is worth picking up. Oh, yes, and for the StarKids, you'll want to watch the group (along with Eric Kahn Gale, of course) reading the first sections of the book and answering a few questions.

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