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Thursday, 19 March 2015

Book Review: Chestnuts by Gilbert Ohanian

About the book:
s there a bully in your life that you don't know how to deal with? I had one too. It prompted me to write 'Chestnuts: A True Story About Being Bullied, ' a book outlining practical strategies for defending against bullies and resolving the conflict and aggression that often plagues victims of bullying. Inside these pages, I will take you through my own harrowing journey with bullies - from boarding school beat-ups, to violent attacks from crazed skinheads on the streets of London, to bullies in public school in America. In each chapter a reflection of my personal story will show you what I did wrong, and how you can actually defend yourself in this modern day and age. Find out: * How bullying is perceived by bullies, victims, parents and teachers * What goes on in the mind of a bully, and what you can do about it * How authority figures often make bullying even worse * The steps you can take to defend yourself, find help and heal from the trauma In 'Chestnuts: A True Story About Being Bullied, ' you will find out how to deal with psychological, emotional and physical bullying - and even what to do when one of your teachers is being a bully. Get this book now, and empower yourself to stand against the tyranny that oppresses you!
Paperback, 156 pages
Published August 2nd 2014 by CreateSpace

About the author:

Gilbert Ohanian was born in Iran and educated in England.  He loved nearly everything about England, but his experience as a school boy there was marred by persistent bullying.  He was born with a hearing impairment, and as a polite, book-loving child he was seen as an easy mark by bullies.

My Review:

The author, through the act of recounting his own experiences as a child, bring all aspects of bullying to the forefront. He extensively talks about the evil of bullying and the irreparable damage it has the potential to cause. 
Well, first and foremost, I think that this kind of awareness and knowledge is very crucial for the kinds of environments that we are living in, given the increasingly aggressive behaviour of ids these days and their reluctance to comply with rules.
Cyber-bullying, verbal abuse have become so pervasive with the changing situations, and it has never been more difficult to penetrate a child's mind. This in turn makes this evil hard to conquer and counter. That said, we have other prevalent forms of bullying, say, at workplace.
This is one issue that has a gigantic bearing on one's emotional well-being, and yet remains ignored over other things. 
It is the responsibility of each one of us to curb this menace: we all either have been, or are, or might be in the future: a bully, his entourage the victim or a spectator to bullying. The onus of its elimination lies on each one of us: and who can be better to start this awareness but a victim himself?

The author recounts his own traumatic experiences, and one can say that even if the kind of bullying we witnessed wasn't this harsh, it certainly had all its ill-effects even in the milder manifestations.
Now, this book's take on the issue is quite comprehensive, with a peek into the minds of both the bully and the survivor, as well as the spectators. And, personally, I opine, that reading this book is anyday better than reading some  gossip magazine. 
Since, the book covers all stages, possibilities, parties and scenarios of bullying, it might get repetitive, but then for a non-fiction book with a lesson, I don't think it can get any better.
Chestnuts has a symbolic meaning, and Gilbert Ohanian has traced his experiences to suit the chapters.
The points raised are very crucial: Do the penal provisions set down by authorities prove worth the pain or do these just increase the excitement of the work if the bully escapes unscathed? How does one find out the intensity of bullying in a situation? We see, even the authority figures are in a fix. And this is bad news, because these bullies becomes serious offenders when they grow up(sadists, barbaric law-offenders)
The best part of the book is that it attempts to provide directors and guidelines for instance for the parents to gauge the symptoms in their ward, or for the victim to handle the situation to nip it in the bud. There are so many more facets of it: more often than not, it starts off as something harmless. 
However, this story is a work-in-progress, and I think this endeavour is best effective when we have follow-up discussions on the same.

The world is not as safe as it used to be. And, this has come in just at the right time. Everyone must read this for the larger good.

I thank the author for sending me a review copy in exchange of an honest review.



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Kritika's bookshelf: read

Angels & Demons
The Story of My Life
The Hunger Games
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
A Tale of Two Cities
Pride and Prejudice
Jane Eyre
Sense and Sensibility
A Christmas Carol
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
The Time Machine
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
The Da Vinci Code

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