I thought that before I wrote about what Mark, the main character in “He Was Weird,” thought about main characters who shot up their school in other books, that it was prudent that I tell you more about him. On the outside, he appears to many as simply a normal boy, although the large glasses don’t do him any favours. Inside his mind however, it is a different story. Asperger’s Syndrome, like in so many people, causes him to make many social gaffs to which other children and a teacher pick up on and use against him. He has a wild imagination, probably even more so than what I convey in the story. Like with many Asperger’s sufferers, the dividing line between reality and fantasy is often blurred and he finds it difficult to separate the two. That is why he so easily slips into his fantasy of being a great ice hockey player and able to build on it to where his team becomes national champions. (Spoiler Alert!) Unfortunately it is also what gets him into so much trouble and makes him the easy pickings for all sorts of bullies.
In the first few chapters, his name isn’t even Mark, it’s Marvin. Why he’s called that is briefly explained in the story but his mother has his named legally changed to Mark because like Mark, she never liked the name Marvin either. It also doesn’t help that there is a cartoon called “Marvin the Monster” on television in the story and he is often called that. Children living in the town draw the conclusion that he changed his name because he didn’t like being called that. Therefore, they refuse to accept his new name and call him by his former name as a further means of keeping him down and after Mark does the big deed, it’s easy for them to use it to trivialise his reasons for carrying out the atrocity.
Other factors play a part in effecting Mark too. One of these is religion. Mark accepts Jesus as his Saviour, mainly because his mind is affected by all the stories of going to hell if he doesn’t. Religion and Asperger’s Syndrome do not make a good mix. This becomes apparent as he reads the Bible and becomes more religiously educated and although it does play a big part in the one chapter where everything goes right for him, in the end, it too becomes a let down for him. (Another spoiler alert coming up!) You see, in spite of his prayers, Jesus doesn’t cure him of his condition nor does he deliver Mark from those who torment him so badly.
Finally, the most important thing about Mark is that in many ways, he’s me. During the three years of my life the story is based on, I suffer many of the things he does. I also am convinced that I have Asperger’s Syndrome to a lesser degree. I had the fantasies he has in the story and also have minor rituals and obsessions which many find odd or weird. I got called both on many occasions. Therefore, I was able to throw myself into the character big time and as for religion, I did become a Born Again Christian when I was eleven and was a devout follower throughout my teenage years. However, as I look back on those days, I realise that that faith messed my head up more than any drugs or heavy metal music ever could.
Now that you have a very brief synopsis of Mark Leversee, you now have an idea of what eventually drives him to what he does in the story and hopefully be able to sympathise with him a bit. In the next posts, you will have his thoughts on characters in the other stories who also carried out similar acts. The next post will be what he thought of Kevin from “We Need to Talk About Kevin” fame.