I can’t remember where I was when I learned of the shooting at Columbine. I’m fairly certain I was somewhere in North Central (my high school), but I have no recollection of any more than that.
Given that bullying is a hot topic in the news right now, Todd Strasser’s Give a Boy a Gun has even more relevance. I, too, think about the kids I see in the hallways of the school where I work who are bullied and who get ignored when they protest because their tormenters are the golden boys of the school, and what they’re doing isn’t recognized as bullying.
The novel is framed as a news report, compiled by the stepsister of one of the boys involved in trapping everyone in the gym. The compilation is arranged chronologically, allowing readers to see the evolution of the protagonists’ disillusionment with people and the school administrators and the evolution of their anger with the fact that nothing will change unless they change it.
At the bottom of many pages, Strasser included quotes from Rolling Stone, The New York Times and from interviews with people from Columbine. This gives the novel a heightened sense of realism–connecting it with an event that has occurred in the nation’s history that people still talk about.
Give a Boy a Gun is going to be added to both my bullying list for novel/non-fiction study next year.