A Thinking Man's Bully by Michael Adelberg

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The 190 pages of this book race past, each short story complete, each analysis intriguing and revealing, each twist in the plot perfectly timed. I couldn’t put it down...
-Gather Books

Synopsis

Matt Duffy is in crisis. His son, Jack, is a high school bully who attempts suicide after Matt snuffs out a fast-moving teen romance. Outwardly, Matt is fine, but inside he is filled with guilt and resentment. Matt reluctantly agrees to see a psychiatrist who pushes him to explore his fractious parenting and his own bullying past. The end result is a collection of Matt’s most important, outrageous, macabre, and indelible memories.

A Thinking Man’s Bully locks readers into Matt’s head as he romps with hell-raising buddies, bumbles in and out of teen romances, and attempts to manage a combustible relationship with his supposed best friend, who died by his own hand. It all serves to make it easy to remember bullies like Matt, Jack, and some of Matt’s friends as fearsome people to be avoided.

Within this debut novel, readers are sent back to high school to relive both their insecurities and recall the allure of the bad-ass and the mean-spirited laughter that comes too easily at the expense of others. Adelberg also hop-scotches the last 30 years of American pop culture with cutting wit. An eclectic mix of the famous and infamous—including Brittany Spears, Lou Reed, Sarah Palin, Rush Limbaugh, and O.J.—are lined up for roasting. Nor does he resist skewering an array of contemporary America’s sacred cows and sensitive topics: racism, sexism, homophobia, class bias, ageism, mental disability, and, of course, bullying.

Ultimately, we are witness to the profound struggle of an aging bully who is not quite lost, but far from redeemed; a soul pitted against the growing realization that he has transferred his worst demons to his son.
 

About Michael Adelberg

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Published March 30, 2012 by Permanent Press - eBooks Account. 176 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Parenting & Relationships. Fiction
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Critic reviews for A Thinking Man's Bully
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Kirkus

Above average
on Nov 15 2011

By turning its back on its own bad-ass yucks, Adelberg’s debut concludes with a jarring sanctimony. Five-sixths of a darkly terrific delight.

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Gather Books

Good
on Nov 28 2011

The 190 pages of this book race past, each short story complete, each analysis intriguing and revealing, each twist in the plot perfectly timed. I couldn’t put it down...

Read Full Review of A Thinking Man's Bully

Reader Rating for A Thinking Man's Bully
77%

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