Quickie: JOURNAL OF A SCHOOLYARD BULLY by Farley Katz

Posted 19 November, 2011 | Mary @ TheBookSwarm | | 4 Comments

MG Humor
272 pages
Available now (Aug. 2011)
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Review copy provided by publisher for honest review
In the tradition of the mega successful DIARY OF A WIMPY KID and DORK DIARIES comes Niko Taylor, a school bully who must keep a journal to right all the wrongs he has done, but Niko, being a habitual trouble-maker, has other ideas. Niko Kaylor, the terror of his middle school, doles out wedgies and collects money he doesn’t need. When he is forced to begin keeping a journal of his activities to curb his bullying ways, he secretly turns his diary into a how-to guide for bullies. Now, against the wishes of his peers, Niko plans to conquer his middle school and teach everyone a lesson in bullying, including his teachers.  

First off, I must put out there that I know I’m not the target audience for this book. I didn’t enjoy it nearly as much as the student who’s currently reading it is. It was quite humorous in parts — the cartoons were great! I enjoyed the “Bully Hall of Fame” (Santa, Garfield, Napoleon) and “Bullying Threat Levels”, as well as the lighter practical jokes (fart-scented paper airplanes).
But Niko didn’t learn anything, didn’t really change throughout the story. There were hints of possible transformation but, in the end, he reverted to his old behaviors and didn’t learn a thing. I would have liked to see him learn something through his journal or from his encounters with bigger and badder bullies, instead of deciding he needed the upper hand. It could have been a subtle moral-to-the-story, without shoving it down the reader’s throat, but that didn’t happen. A wasted opportunity.

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4 Responses to “Quickie: JOURNAL OF A SCHOOLYARD BULLY by Farley Katz”

  1. Hm. It’s kind of disappointing that he just reverted back to previous behavior and didn’t really learn anything. I like there to be a little lesson in there somewhere, not shoved down my throat like you said, but something for me to take away from the story itself!

  2. Ugh it’s always the worst when character development goes down the drain. I guess it could happen like that in real life, but you would think the author would want to make some kind of statement with the book.