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Please Stop Laughing at Me: One Woman's Inspirational True Story Paperback – July 18, 2010

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

A publicist (and author of The Complete Guide to Book Publicity) who has promoted several bestsellers, Blanco was once a troubled child, tormented by her school mates. In this moving account, Blanco describes how she was first victimized in a Roman Catholic grammar school because she defended some deaf children when they were picked on by hearing students. She gave the names of the ringleaders of this cruel activity to one of the nuns, and was subsequently ostracized by former friends for being a tattletale. After Blanco transferred to another school, she continued a pattern of reporting bad behavior to authority figures and became a true outsider. According to the author, her parents were sympathetic, but they made things worse by forcing her to see a therapist. He prescribed medication that made her sleepy and told her that "kids will be kids." In high school, she was physically abused by students who also objected to her "goody two shoes" attitude. During her teen years, Blanco's emotional problems were compounded by a physical problem that caused her breasts to grow at different rates (later corrected by surgery). Blanco does feel, however, that those painful early years gave her the strength to become a successful adult. Although the text is overwritten in parts, the author's courageous and honest memoir of the years she spent as the victim of her contemporaries points smartly to the inability of adults to deal with issues of serious bullying.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

Adult/High School-From fifth grade through high school, Blanco was teased, shunned, and, at times, physically assaulted by her classmates because she was different. She befriended handicapped students, "ratted" on the activities of fellow 12-year-olds at her first boy/girl party, and could not bring herself to dissect a fetal pig. Her experiences with school bullies occurred in a variety of settings, including religious and private schools. At various points in this visceral memoir, Blanco fumes at the injustice of being subjected to psychiatric diagnosis and medication while her tormentors remained unbothered and oblivious, and states that "sticking up for people" and/or being different is a "social death warrant." While her loving parents were sympathetic and supportive, their well-meant admonitions to ignore her harassers and "rise above it all" sprang from adult logic; adolescents simply interpreted her indifference as weakness. The author's emotional torment was partly due to a breast deformity; corrective surgery performed prior to her senior year allowed her, finally, to begin viewing her future optimistically. Adults may consider some of Blanco's scenes as hyperbole, but teens will find them authentic and apt. Many will take comfort both in the universality of the experiences and in Blanco's transformation from an unhappy, embittered ugly duckling to a poised, accomplished swan. Others, if they are honest, just might recognize bullying tendencies in themselves and become sufficiently chagrined to reexamine their views and actions toward nonconformists of all stripes.
Dori DeSpain, Fairfax County Public Library, VA
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Adams Media (July 18, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1440509867
  • ISBN-13: 978-1440509865
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (275 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #378,460 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

193 of 227 people found the following review helpful By Jesse Penitent on April 22, 2004
Format: Paperback
As a victim of bullying from grade school through high school, I wanted to like this book. In fact, I was annoyed when I read some of the negative reviews here. They seemed to be written by bullies themselves. Then I read the book.
Oh boy.
A great deal has been made of it being written in response to the Columbine shootings. Recent information, however, reveals the Columbine shooters weren't victims of bullying so much as they were contemptuous psychopaths who thought themselves superior to EVERYONE and planned to kill EVERYONE from the meanest jock to the lowliest nerd. I'm not sure "Please Stop" is going to help stop the creation of future Klebolds and Harrises.
Nor is it going to do much for victims of bullies beyond assuring them that lots of other people get bullied--some worse than others. I would ten times rather Jodee had expounded on the resources she had to draw upon to get through high school. I would like to have heard about the skills she developed to go from high school victim to real-world success story. (How DOES someone so hated and so downtrodden become a publicist for Muhammad Ali and Jim Carrey?) I would rather have read about what kinds of support she and her various outsider friends gave each other to buffer the cruelty they suffered.
Instead, we get 200 plus pages of graphic description of how mean everyone was, how clueless the world was, and (apparently) what a nice, saintly girl Jodee was. (I was bullied,too, but even I know that I wasn't Bernadette of Lourdes--I could be snarky and prissy and deliberately dorky. Does this excuse my tormentors? No. Does it explain their behavior? A little. Did I knock myself out trying to make them like me? Not on your life.
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47 of 54 people found the following review helpful By Hornblower on September 7, 2010
Format: Paperback
I was bullied for my entire high school existence. Being a big red-headed kid with bad acne produced the same social results as a red-and-white bullseye does when mounted on a suitable target. So yeah---I know what being bullied is allllll about.

But what Jodee Blanco went through---I started doing more wondering about her state-of-mind than sympathizing: Why oh why did this girl decide over and over again to be included in the clique of people who did not share her values or interests? Why was it so important to her to intrude into groups where she a.) was not welcome and b.) should have realized that these groups were not healthy for ANYONE to be part of? Why did she have to keep switching schools? Why did she make the same overtures every place she went? Why did she immediately hone in on the "popular" group to join, when being a part of a group that shared her interests (volunteerism, teaching, advocating for the disabled) would have produced more positive results? Why did teachers "pick on her?" ( Frankly, I found the example of the wheelchair-bound teacher ridiculing her in front of the class to be so far-fetched as to be bordering on total fiction---and I went to school in the days of corporal punishment.)Why were her therapists all "clueless?" Why did she feel the need to go back to see the popular crowd at their reunion? Gloating, of course, is a recognizeable motivation for many to attend such events---but in her case--wouldn't she have WANTED to stay away from the people who had tormented her? Isn't "living well the best revenge," if your own success is the point you're trying to make?

Sadly, this book did not make me look at bullying in a new light. I didn't learn much new about the traits that make a child a "target" for bullying behaviors.
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53 of 63 people found the following review helpful By K. Polk on December 6, 2005
Format: Paperback
I am a middle school educator, and I was excited to read this book when I spotted it. However, almost immediately I began to feel confused by the tone that Jodee selected. She certainly didn't seem to have risen above her experience, but rather to have developed an almost saintly image of herself as a young teen and to have become an offensively arrogant adult. (clear message presented: The bullying was done to me because I was an extremely kind and loving person who did everything right. Of course, bullying has no excuse. Don't get me wrong.)

I continued reading, because unlike Jodee, I experienced middle and high school in more of a perpetrator/bystander position than in the victim position...and because Jodee makes the point several times that denial is the biggest problem with bullying, I felt that perhaps my own life experience was leading me to respond negatively to hers. I admit I even doubted some of her anecdotes, or the severity of them at points. I struggled to keep my eyes open to her experience, and yet I could not get behind her "character". I found Jodee to be wholly unsympathetic and not at all a role model for my students who experience bullying. As an adult she appears arrogant and, though apparently financially and professionally successful, not at all kind, forgiving, mature, sensitive or insightful. Of course, I hope that Jodee herself is these things, but the book doesn't show it at all.

What put me over the edge was her "claim" to have made a vow to meet Mickey Rooney and to help him accomplish something important in his life....I thought--how odd for a 14 year old to have thought this--I teach 14 year olds and I don't think this is the type of "vow" they would make.
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