Buy Used
$4.34
Condition: Used: Good
Comment: This item has been gently used.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

The Whipping Boy Hardcover – February, 1978


See all 4 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Hardcover
"Please retry"
$294.85 $0.01
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Best Books of the Month
Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 458 pages
  • Publisher: Putnam Pub Group (T); First Printing edition (February 1978)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399900004
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399900006
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.2 x 1.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,369,421 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
Share your thoughts with other customers

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 17 people found the following review helpful By D. Walker on April 30, 2000
Format: Hardcover
What a novel! It has so much. You know no editor got his grubby hands on this one. Don't be put off by the title, which promises kinky melodrama. The book aims for social agitprop, but don't be put off by that, either. I do have one caveat: Beth Holmes has an unstated Christian agenda, in addition to the social one. It's unstated because it's taken as an absolute given. Some readers will quickly be alienated, around the point where the psychiatrist sits down to dinner with the disturbed family. If you're not horrified (as the psychiatrist is) that a father would allow his son to lead the family in saying grace--a permissiveness that is viewed by the author as sacrilege and horrific abuse--you'll probably be bewildered. And--just maybe--hooked.

The novel--about a demented Dad who drives his son nuts, while the boy's saintly mother fights to save him--calls for reform of child-abuse laws, which at the time of its writing punished only physical abuse. It dramatizes the need for parents to set boundaries, warning that a lack of discipline (i.e., spoiling them rotten) can be as cataclysmic as daily beatings. Some good old-fashioned, Christian discipline is what's called for. That's the pretense, anyway. The book illustrates something else: that the medium is, indeed, the message. The novel itself is like some freaky, naive, flipped-out adolescent, totally lacking in any sort of discipline or shame, filled with weird disgust. Holmes gooses her polemic with hysterical overwriting, zany plot-twists, and yes, kinky melodrama, as well as the occasional Dr.-Seuss-on-drugs rhyme: "Timmy was a twelve-year-old [expletive] in lunatic drag." And that's not dialogue.

Much of the story is rather far-fetched, even for a pot-boiler.
Read more ›
2 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Phyllis and Critters on February 20, 2011
Format: Hardcover
This is story telling at its best - a story that should not be buried or ignored. I still have the paperback that was published in 1978. I keep this book, along with the few others that have made a great impact on my life and why this book never made the best seller listing is beyond me!!!!!!
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Terry Russler on January 20, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
A must read for anyone going into social work. I have read this book over and over again and have never been dissapointed in the story. It is both frightening and sad in the respect that abuse can be in the form of abscured love. The books message is timely dispite the age of the book who's setting is in the 1960's. The characters are complex enough to allow a reader to understand the dynamics behind the bizarre behavior of the parents and children.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By BeatleBangs1964 VINE VOICE on March 17, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This is a truly gruesome story.

This story starts off with a bang. Timmy, 12 is a dangerously mentally ill child whose mental illness seems to be functional rather than organic. At the opening of the story, Timmy mentally boasts of how good he is with animals, yet a kitten dies while in his care. It is never made clear whether Timmy killed it; the kitten's cause of death is equally obscured.

Timmy lives in a house of madness. One of three adopted children, he delights in tormenting his twin siblings, Nick and Meg, who are eight. Their father is a sexually confused person who insists on parading about the house naked; tucking his genitals back to as to appear feminized and who condones the boys beating up Meg. His initial attraction to his wife, Evie is based on her boyish appearance and body.

Timmy unravels even further; he changes road signs around so as to cause a possible accident; he goes out in drag and flirts with sailors; he nearly kills a man while on a school field trip which results in his expulsion. The school psychologist and Evie later become romantically involved, which comes as no surprise to readers.

There are a few surprises to readers. One wonders why the psychologist drops in on the Lowells during dinner and why he was horrified that Timmy, rather than Dan was leading the grace. In many families, people take turns as to who says grace, so this singular act does not seem to be the hair raiser that Stollery, the psychologist seems to feel it is.

The main thrust of this book is the psychological harm that excessive permissiveness can cause. Dan Lowell allows Timmy to rearrange his stock portfolios which results in bankruptcy; he gives the boy an office and a salary.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again