Cindy's Reviews > A Thousand Cuts

A Thousand Cuts by Simon Lelic
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's review
Nov 03, 2012

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Picoult's Nineteen Minutes was an emotional read as she examined a school shooting and the life of the shooter. You never felt like the shooter was absolved but, throughout the book, you felt saddened by the situation, heartbroken that nothing was done to stop the culture of bullying apparent in the school. Throughout this novel, you felt similarly BUT it didn't quite grab my heartstrings like NM did. The structure of the novel was unique. The perspective shifted back and forth between witness interview transcripts and the Detective's life as she investigated the school shooting and the shooter. The story certainly put forth a sad story of EXTREME bullying of both students and teachers. Also intriguing was the added element of money, business, and governmental strings...meaning that image and contracts mean more than the quality of life for the inhabitants of the school. It was also interesting to see how the Detective's own experience with sexual harassment in the workplace pushed her to make a difference in the lives of the students, if not in her own life. What do you do when no one "higher up" is willing to see the problem? Is willing to help? Unfortunately, there isn't always a happy solution. Sometimes, you give in, escape, run away. And sometimes, you stay and fight even if means you lose.
Like I said, interesting read...very sad to read the tales of abuse...but it lacks the emotional connection of NM.

Favorite Passages:
"The mathematics teacher is a dying breed...Instead, I get history teachers. History. The study of swords and stupidity and scandal. Just what a teenager needs to prepare himself for a life of fiscal and behavioural responsibility. If it were up to me we would not offer it. We would teach mathematics and grammer and physics and chemistry and economics. But the parents want it. The government demands it."
E.H. Carr hypothesis
"She liked to let her eyes graze upon the spines. She liked being able to identify a book without being close enough to read its title. The battered corners, the creases on each cover-they were a mark of familiarity. They were a comfort."
"It's everyone's first reaction, isn't it? To look for someone to blame. People say it's an English ting, this need to find fault, to look for scapegoats, but I don't think it's just us. It's human nature...When there's no one to blame when something terrible happens. Or when there's no one left to blame. Do you know what I mean? It's always easier to deal with the pain if you can twist that pain into anger, if you can lash out, if you can blame someone, anyone, even if they don't deserve to be blamed."
"Parents called her a lady...She had laughed the first time. The second time she had panicked. When had that happened? When had the world decided...that the girl she thought she was had been displaced..."
"Why were the weak obliged to be so brave when the strong had the licence to behave like such cowards."
"It will all be forgotten...No one will remember. No one really cares...people buy the newspapers why? For the same reason they watch movies or read a novel. To be entertained. It is entertainment...If what was in the newspapers seemed real, they would not buy the newspapers at all. They would like awake at night, like I do. They would weep, like I do. The would despair, like I do. They would despair."
"So I expect nothing. I have learnt to expect nothing...But you know, I think, how this will end. It has ended already. Not for me, for me it will never end, but for everyone else it was over as soon as it began. Felix lived and now he is dead and already the world is forgetting his name. Tell me: will you remember his name? In a year. In a month. In a week. Will you remember his name?"
"Why did they sue the school? If they had to to sue anyone, why not the parents of the kids who did this to him?
Their argument...was that it was the school's responsibility to protect the children under its charge. The bullying, for the most part, happened on school premises, during school hours, when the school, effectively, assumed the role of parent in monitoring the behaviour and the well-being of its students...
I don't agree. The parents are responsible...
...the school had a duty of care. Just like businesses have a duty to their employees, to their customers, but all the more so because schools are in a unique position of trust."


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