Many people have probably taken one look at this book and immediately concluded that it’s just another book about the bullied kid who shoots up his school in revenge and we’re all supposed to feel sorry for him. Very true, “He Was Weird” does follow this vein but in many ways it is different. Out of fear of being accused of plagiarism, I have read four books about school shootings. One called “Rupture” by Simon Lelic, I will not go into too much detail here on Peaceful Rampage. Not because there is anything wrong with it, on the contrary, it’s brilliant. As it is about a school teacher who does the deed, I don’t feel it fits in with the context of what I’m trying to do here. The other three I will be looking at are:
“We Need to Talk About Kevin” by Lionel Shriver
“19 Minutes” by Jodi Piccoult
“Endgame” by Nancy Garden
In all three of these stories, the story begins with the shooting having just taken place and all three work retrospectively in unraveling why the main character did the deed. It is not the case with “He Was Weird.” The story begins with the main character moving to the town full of optimism. However, as you read on, you get the feeling that it is all going to end up in tears.
With Jodi Piccoult and Nancy Garden, the main character has a few known bullies. While this is bad enough, in my story, practically everybody thinks they can have a go at the main character. Therefore, he is made to feel more isolated and more justified when he finally plots his revenge. In the case of Lionel Shriver, her main character is not bullied at all.
I also have my main character diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome and a condition known as DAMP, otherwise know as deficiencies in attention, motor skills and perception. This is what makes him appear weird and I highlight people’s attitudes towards it and the effect it has on the bullying.
There are many other differences as well. For example, my main character, (hell, let’s use his name) Mark, becomes a born again Christian.Another is that I try to make his escapes into fantasy land as real as possible. There are more for you to discover as well.
For the next three posts, I am going to tell you what Mark would have thought of the main characters in the books I am contrasting them to. I hope you will come along as I think you’ll find it enlightening.