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Give a Boy a Gun


Give a Boy a Gun Cover

ISBN13: 9780689848933
ISBN10: 0689848935
Condition: Standard
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Around 10 P.M. on Friday, February 27, Gary Searle died in the gymnasium at Middletown High School. After the bullet smashed through the left side of his skull and tore into his brain, he probably lived for ten to fifteen seconds.

The brain is a fragile organ suspended in a liquid environment. Not only does a bullet destroy whatever brain tissue is in its path, but the shock waves from the impact severely jar the entire organ, ripping apart millions of delicate structures and connections. In the seconds that follow, the brain swells with blood and other fluids. The parts of the brain that control breathing and heartbeat stop. One doctor described it to me as "an earthquake in the head."

At the moment of Gary's death I was in the library at the state university, where I was a sophomore studying journalism. As soon as I heard the news, I went home to Middletown, determined not to leave until I understood what had happened there.

Returning to Middletown was like stepping into a thick fog of bewilderment, fury, agony, and despair. For weeks I staggered through it, searching out other lost, wandering souls. Some were willing to talk to me. Others spoke because they felt a need to defend themselves even though no one had pointed an accusing finger at them. Some even sought me out because they wanted to talk. As if speaking about it was a way of trying to figure it out, of beginning the long, painful process of grieving and moving ahead.

Some refused to speak because it must have been too painful. For others, I suspect it was because they had learned something about themselves that they were still struggling to accept — or to conceal.

I spoke to everyone who would speak to me. In addition I studied everything I could find on the many similar incidents that have occurred in other schools around our country in the past thirty years.

The story you are about to read is really two stories. One is about what happened here in Middletown. The other is the broader tale of what is happening all around our country — in a world of schools and guns and violence that has forever changed the place I once called home. The quotes and facts from other incidents are in a different-style print. What happened in Middletown is in plain print.

This, then, is the story of what I learned. It is told in many voices, in words far more eloquent and raw than any I could have thought of on my own. It is a story of heartbreak and fear and regret. But mostly it is a warning. Violence comes in many forms — guns, fists, and words of hate and contempt. Unless we change the way we treat others in school and out, there will only be more — and more horrible — tragedies.

— Denise Shipley

Copyright © 2000 by Todd Strasser

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emmejo, December 15, 2009 (view all comments by emmejo)
Brendan and Gary have always been teased. They have always been the bottom of the barrel. Always ignored, no one notices them except to punish them or hurt them. But they make that change when the come to a school dance armed and take their classmates and teachers hostage.

I am not sure what to say about this book. It opens with Gary's suicide note and a collage student trying to understand why these boys would do something like this. It continues as interviews, chat logs and e-mails. It is a book that makes you extremely uncomfortable because you can almost see why these boys did this. It almost makes sense and seems reasonable. That is a horrifying thought, because when would shooting ANYONE be reasonable? This book is hard to read, but I think reading this kind of book opens your mind and lets you see a little bit of that dark, evil spot in everyone's head. It makes you wonder and actively think about what you could do, because after seeing that darkness you can't just ignore it.
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Yardpilot, May 12, 2009 (view all comments by Yardpilot)
This is a work of sensationalistic trash. Little in it is true, though the author claims it is all "based on fact." Most of the "statistics" and "facts" are based on debunked, disproved, or just plain fictional sources. It is simply another piece of anti-gun propaganda designed to demonize guns and gun owners. The obvious influences of the usual anti-gun groups is difficult to miss in this mangled mess of misinformation. It is an insult to any thinking person to see how little regard the author holds for the intellect of the people who read his "book."
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Product Details

Strasser, Todd
Simon Pulse
Garden, Nancy
McDowell, Beck
New York
Children's 12-Up - Fiction - General
Social Situations - Adolescence
Social Situations - Violence
High schools
Conduct of life
Social Situations - Physical & Emotional Abuse
Young adult fiction
Didactic fiction
School shootings
Situations / Physical & Emotional Abuse
Situations / Violence
Social Issues - Adolescence
Social Issues - Violence
Social Issues - Physical & Emotional Abuse
Children s Young Adult-Social Issue Fiction-Physical and Emotional Abuse
Children s Young Adult-Social Issue Fiction
Edition Number:
1st Simon Pulse ed.
Edition Description:
Series Volume:
Publication Date:
April 2002
Grade Level:
from 7
f-c cvr
7 x 5 in 0.5 lb
Age Level:
from 12

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Related Subjects

Children's » Situations » Physical and Emotional Abuse
History and Social Science » Politics » General
Young Adult » Fiction » Social Issues » Adolescence
Young Adult » Fiction » Social Issues » Bullying
Young Adult » Fiction » Social Issues » Violence
Young Adult » General

Give a Boy a Gun Used Mass Market
0 stars - 0 reviews
$4.50 In Stock
Product details 208 pages Simon Pulse - English 9780689848933 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , The horrors of teen violence are explored in this eye-opening novel through the lens of one shattering event where two armed students hold terrified classmates and teachers hostage in a school gym.
"Synopsis" by , The horrors of teen violence is explored in this eye-opening novel through the lens of one shattering event where two armed students hold terrified classmates and teachers hostage in a school gym. Facts about teen gun use and school violence add counterpoint to this selection.
"Synopsis" by ,
In this devastating novel, a school shooting shatters lives on both sides of the gun. Told from the point of view of of fourteen-year-old Gray Wilton, who killed four students at his high school, as he awaits his murder trial.
"Synopsis" by , “A hard-hitting and eloquent look at the impact of bullying." -School Library Journal

New town, new school, new start. Thats what fourteen-year-old Gray Wilton believes. But it doesnt take long for him to realize that there are bullies in every school, and hes always their punching bag. Their abuses escalate until Gray feels trapped and alone. He has no power at all until he enters the halls of Greenford High School with his fathers semiautomatic in hand. Nancy Garden deftly explores the cruelty of bullying and its devastating effects. In this brutal, heartbreaking story, a school shooting shatters lives on both sides of the gun.

"Synopsis" by , For as long as they can remember, Brendan and Gary have been mercilessly teased and harassed by the jocks who rule Middletown High. But not anymore. Stealing a small arsenal of guns from a neighbor, they take their classmates hostage at a school dance. In the panic of this desperate situation, it soon becomes clear that only one thing matters to Brendan and Gary: revenge.
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