Neal Shusterman's Reviews > Bruiser

Bruiser by Neal Shusterman
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Oct 02, 14

(Review from the author)
bookshelves: my-own-books
Read in October, 2011

Again – not a book review, but a review of my writing process for BRUISER. The idea of telling a story about an empath who can take on people’s pain had been with me for a while – but it wasn’t until I started toying with the idea of a character who could take on psychological and emotional pain that I got really interested in telling this story. We THINK we want our hurts taken away from us, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized that surrendering our emotional pain cripples us. We can become addicted to emotional pain-killers just as we can to physical pain killers. Being human means experiencing the full range of human emotions. I wanted to explore that concept.
But how to do it?
Well, I knew I wanted to tell the story from multiple points of view. The challenge was to find all the voices. Tennyson is in first person present. Brontë, who is more introspective, is first person, past tense, because that allows her to reflect on what happened. Cody is total stream of consciousness, which I always wanted to try. I remember in college reading Faulkner’s “The Sound and the Fury,” and my favorite part was the stream-of-consciousness segment from the mentally disabled character. It was really my first introduction to stream-of-consciousness writing. Cody’s voice was great fun to write.
Then we come to Brewster. I knew right away that I wanted his voice to be in free verse. It was harder than I thought it would be. I threw away a lot of verse until I came up with material that I felt captured the character. The fact that my friend, Ellen Hopkins (who has made her career writing verse-novels ) really liked it, meant the world to me!
As for the farm house in the middle of a suburban development, and the weird old bull that lived there, that came from my neighborhood in SoCal. Funny thing – I got an e-mail the other day from someone who lives in my neighborhood, and freaked out when they read that, because they knew the exact farm house, and the exact bull I was talking about!
Hope you enjoy BRUISER.
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Libraryangel To be honest I never thought I would love a book more, even one of yours, than I loved Unwind and when Bruiser came out I was worried that I wouldn't like it due to my love for Unwind, but I was so very wrong. Both my husband and I read it in one sitting in one night and it touched my heart so much. Actually I think it now owns property in my heart next to unwind. I adore the fact that no detail is ever wasted in your work. Thank you for two of my favorite books.


Lennie Grace mr.shusterman: i love your books. i'm only half way through bruiser and i already love it. i've read unwind downsiders and the skinjackers books. you are one of my favorite writer. i think that the skinjackers is a trilogy torivail the lord of the rings.(even though the lord of the rings is not a trilogy. its all one novel.) :D i can't wait to read more of your books.


Ashleyk Mr.shusterman you are my favorite author i love your work bruiser is my favorite book! Oh and we were both born on the 12th of november YA


Maysoon K I'd just go to your doorstep and knock on your door every time I was finished with a chapter and needed to discuss with someone. Nobody better than the man who wrote the book himself!!


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