The true account of one man's lifelong search for his boarding-school bully.
Equal parts childhood memoir and literary thriller, Whipping Boy chronicles Allen Kurzweil's search for his 12-year-old nemesis, a bully named Cesar Augustus. The obsessive inquiry, which spans some 40 years, takes Kurzweil all over the world, from a Swiss boarding school (where he endures horrifying cruelty) to the slums of Manila, from the Park Avenue boardroom of the world's largest law firm to a federal prison camp in Southern California. While tracking down his tormentor, the author encounters an improbable cast of characters that includes an elocution teacher with ill-fitting dentures, a gang of faux-royal swindlers, a crime investigator with "paper in his blood", and a monocled grand master of the Knights of Malta. Yet for all its global exoticism and comic exuberance, Kurzweil's riveting account is, at its core, a heartfelt and suspenseful narrative about the "parallel lives" of a victim and his abuser.
A scrupulously researched and richly illustrated work of nonfiction that renders a childhood menace into an unlikely muse, Whipping Boy is much more than a tale of karmic retribution; it is a poignant meditation on loss, memory, and mourning, a surreal odyssey born out of suffering, nourished by rancor, tempered by wit, and resolved, unexpectedly, in a breathtaking act of personal courage.
©2015 Allen Kurzweil (P)2015 HarperCollins Publishers
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Not at all what I was expecting.
The ending was a let down.
The book title should have been "looking for myself a boring journey", I would have then saved myself the cost of the book.
"Pretty good book. Narrator kind of annoying."
Narrator laughs too much, as though he's trying to ingratiate himself. I would have preferred if he just stuck to the text.
"Slow stroll through a story about a bully"
It was one of those stories that grab your attention because you identify with the author but he reads it so slowly you try speeding up the playback but his words aren't slow like a Southerner it is the pauses between words that it too slow, so the speedup doesn't help much. I found myself enlightened a bit about bully mentality which was worth the listen but just barely.
"Barely made it to the end"
I had high hopes that this book would be an interesting memoir about surviving an experience that has become all too common, bullying. What I found it to be instead was an underwhelming story of a guy who was at the receiving end of some nasty treatment for a year at boarding school, then moved on with his life to become a successful writer with a nice little family. Yet, for some reason he is still dragging his obsession over the roommate's mistreatment around, and has managed to stretch it into an eight hour audiobook with bland narration. Nothing is really revealed to indicate that the author learns from or resolves anything by chasing down his school-days arch nemesis, there is no solid connection to a larger theme, and honestly I barely made it to the end of the book. I would not recommend this book.
"Everyone Needs a Hobby...I guess"
Whipping Boy was totally different than what I was anticipating. I foresaw more a story about 10 year old boys and how they matured, or didn't. I was not expecting a book that is largely in-depth legalese about a financial crime. It was as much, if not more, a book about a nameless international fraud as it was about the author’s personal revelation and retribution.
Allen Kuzweil is a well-known author of children’s books. In midlife he decided to try to find a childhood nemesis, a boy he knew for about eight months. This search turned into more than night stalking on facebook and google. It became a hobby that led him to an extensive research of a crime over years and time zones. Kuzweil did “scurrilously research” for this project. He did fine job writing. He interjected humor and personal stories into a lot of tedious information. Mr Kuzweil’s examination should have been more inwardly directed.
The fault of this book is that Mr Kuzweil never for a second takes into consideration that his 10 year old self’s recollection has to be somewhat flawed. Partly because his detached existence and the emotional turmoil he was under had to weigh in on the thoughts of the event. His memory is not the be-all and end-all truth. As a mother of adult children, I was there for many a childhood event that turns into many adult memories that were not anywhere close to reality. Considering that the main infraction against the author was not witness or proved, I think it is not fair to claim it to be fact.
"Not for me."
I just don't get this book! Who spends forty years letting a bully effect your life and looking for him? Everyone has been been bullied, some worse than others, but you move on with life and put it behind you. Maybe this was his answer to therapy? Maybe he's still too young to have the tools to learn how to let go of the past? I really don't know. All I know is this book just wasn't for me. After skipping through chapters trying to make sense of it, I gave up and didn't finish.
Knowing that this astonishing experience was narrated by the actual person who lived through this.
How Allen Kurzweil unfolded his evidence bit by bit kept me on the edge of my seat
This book should be a movie!
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