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A Thinking Man's Bully
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A Thinking Man's Bully

3.45  ·  Rating Details ·  42 Ratings  ·  15 Reviews
Matt Duffy is in crisis. His son, Jack, is a high school bully who attempts suicide after Matt snuffs out a fast-moving teen romance. Outwardly, Matt is fine, but inside he is filled with guilt and resentment. Matt reluctantly agrees to see a psychiatrist who pushes him to explore his fractious parenting and his own bullying past. The end result is a collection of Matt's m ...more
Hardcover, 190 pages
Published February 23rd 2012 by Permanent Press (NY) (first published December 1st 2011)
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Nov 15, 2011 Kim rated it it was ok
Shelves: first-reads
I am very conflicted when it comes to A Thinking Man's Bully. There were many aspects of the book that I loved and many that I hated. You can read the premise of the book, so I won't waste time by giving you a run down of the plot.

What I loved: The premise - I was bullied in school and was very interested to hear stories from the opposite point of view; the writing - Michael Adelberg has a talent for visualization without flowering up the prose. I don't feel like he wasted any of my time with us
Bookish Jen
Feb 15, 2014 Bookish Jen rated it really liked it
Meet Matt Duffy, the protagonist of Michael Adelberg’s novel Thinking Man’s Bully. His son, Jack, is getting into trouble for bullying his peers. Jack has also attempted suicide after Matt thwarted a teen-age romance. Things are not going well for Matt and his wife encourages him to see a psychiatrist. Matt is not crazy about the idea but thinks maybe getting some type of therapy will help him deal with his problematic, troubled son. What doesn’t expect that seeing a shrink will force him to con ...more
Nov 07, 2011 Tony rated it liked it
Shelves: novels
I picked this up on a total whim and was sucked in enough by the writing and tone to read the whole thing over a few days. A word of warning though, the book's structure and chronology is a bit awkward in the beginning, so if you're going to try it, give it at least forty pages. The first two sections ("Introduction," and "The End of the Story") are used to set the rest of the book up, and it's a little jagged. In it, we learn that the narrator has been seeing a therapist as the result of his so ...more
Jill Elizabeth
Apr 10, 2012 Jill Elizabeth rated it liked it
My review copy of A Thinking Man’s Bully, was provided courtesy of, which also hosted the original (shorter) post of this book review on March 19.

Okay, funny thing - I have no idea why I requested this book for a review or what drew me to it. It’s not the subject matter (an aging bully telling tales of his misspent youth). The writing was enjoyable, but I wouldn’t have known that from a catalog picture/title. It may have been the catalog picture/title, come to think of it. It’s
Nov 28, 2011 Sheila rated it it was amazing
Matthew McDuff ends up talking with a psychiatrist after his teenage son attempts suicide. But Matthew doesn’t really want to talk and breakthroughs only start when he begins to write instead—a less immediate but ultimately much deeper form of communication. Michael Adelberg’s A Thinking Man’s Bully takes the form of two short books—the Book of McDuff and the Book of Jack, built from short stories Matthew writes, conversations with his therapist, and his growing understanding of himself.

Does a b
Dec 03, 2011 cheryl rated it it was ok
A Thinking Man’s Bully

Matt Duffy is persuaded by his wife to seek psychotherapy because two people close to him have had suicidal escapades; his best friend in high school committed suicide and then his fifteen year old son attempts suicide after proposing to his girlfriend and then getting caught having sex when his parents return from a night out on the town and Matt finds the engagement ring and tosses it in the woods behind their house..

Through a set of stories that Matt writes for his thera
Nov 16, 2011 Shannon rated it it was amazing

Matt Duffy is prompted by his wife to go to therapy after their teenage bullying son attempts suicide. Matt agrees since he has now been mentioned in the suicide notes of two very important people in his life. We learn about Matt Duffy’s life through the stories he writes for his psychiatrist to read before their sessions showing how his life has been shaped by bullying.
I didn’t expect to laugh as much as I did while reading this. Those laugh out loud moments are needed, however, to lighten the
Dec 13, 2011 Melankalia rated it it was ok
Shelves: first-reads
I received this ARC as a part of the Goodreads giveaways promotion.
I have fairly mixed feelings about this book. I like both the concept and the stories. However, while the stories read quite true, the interactions with the therapist feel forced. Matt's "voice" is altered enough in therapist's office that he seems to be a completely different person, and his breakthroughs are so quick that the whole thing rings false. My other problem is with the vast over explanation of the multiple pop culture
Aug 09, 2013 Cat rated it really liked it
A Thinking Man's Bully by Michael Adelberg

Yes, he's not really a nice guy. Yes, he's done some terrible things and most of them, he doesn't recognize. But when he does start to see the light with the help of his unorthodox psychiatrist, he manages to write what he cannot even admit to himself. The bits and pieces that even he begins to understand once they are written out.

I enjoyed this book. It was well written and made me laugh. It also introduced me to some pretty harsh realities of boyhood b
Nov 14, 2011 Jackie rated it really liked it
Matt Duffy is going to a shrink because his wife asked him to after the suicide attempt of their teenage son. It's not the first time that cloud hung over him--when he was a junior in high school, his best friend killed himself. Finding it hard to open up to the psychiatrist, they collectively decide that it would be easier for Matt to write short essays about relationships in his past that would help them both to come to the emotional center of his many issues. What emerges is a culture of bull ...more
Mar 22, 2012 Akeiisa rated it really liked it
An interesting read exploring a father's history of bullying and being bullied as he tries to cope with his son's suicide attempt and bullying behavior. A Thinking Man's Bully does make you think about what leads to certain patterns of behavior and how much our personalities are shaped by our parents.

Some may find the structure off-putting, but the chronological jumps provide insight in who Matt Duffy is and how he sees himself. This understanding of his worldview is useful as the story shifts f
Karen French
Nov 11, 2011 Karen French rated it liked it
I did like the book. I thought the son was more of a bully than the dad ever was. Jack had more problems than his dad. He tried to commit suicide, probably over a girl he loved too much. The dad's stories were ok, each incident was clearly spelled out. It was an interesting read, definitely different from what I am used to reading. All in all, it was okay.
Dec 16, 2011 Carol rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads
I won this book through Goodreads Firstreads program and am a happy winner. I am glad I gave the book a shot....normally wouldn't have chosen the book because I sometimes do judge a book by its cover. I have mixed feelings about the book. There were parts that I really enjoyed and parts that I struggled with. Give the book a chance and see what you think!
Feb 12, 2013 Beth rated it liked it
A look into an adult's view of his adolescent bullying behavior and his friendships during that time. Interesting look at the possibility of "handing down" these behaviors to your child as well.
Bill rated it it was amazing
Aug 28, 2015
Victor rated it liked it
Sep 12, 2012
Amber rated it it was ok
May 31, 2012
Brownie rated it really liked it
Jun 05, 2016
Laura rated it it was ok
Feb 22, 2013
Alana rated it it was ok
Jan 07, 2013
Amelia Sorenson-Abbott
Amelia Sorenson-Abbott rated it really liked it
Apr 17, 2012
Alicia Kachmar
Alicia Kachmar rated it it was ok
Sep 05, 2016
Sean Turk
Sean Turk rated it really liked it
Jun 25, 2012
A. R.
A. R. rated it liked it
Nov 11, 2011
Kate rated it really liked it
Feb 26, 2012
Charles rated it it was amazing
Apr 25, 2013
Stephanie Zahrbock
Stephanie Zahrbock rated it really liked it
Jan 17, 2016
Kristi rated it liked it
Mar 16, 2012
Johnny Mendoza Gonzalez
it wasnt what i hope it would be but its still good
robert herndon
robert herndon rated it really liked it
May 06, 2015
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