On The Fringe

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

(photo is mine)

This is a book I bought last month for only 0.23 USD from a store that sells used books called BookSale. It was  on top of a pile of old hardbounds stripped of their dustcovers, thus greatly lowering their price value. The unwanted books, it would seem.

I never really intended on buying this book. I just came across it while mindlessly looking around the entire store, waiting for my mum. The fun font on the spine caught my eye however, and i ended up picking it up. I skimmed through the book and found out that it was a collection of short stories. I had no idea what the stories were about, but the book was dirt cheap and was in pretty good condition. Needless to say, I came out of that store with a book called "On The Fringe" inside my white plastic bag.

I had a bunch of other books, so I never had the chance to read the book until this morning. After breakfast, I grabbed the book from my shelf and positioned myself on the living room's sofa. And I started reading.

The book was a collection of short stories about the lives of different outcasts and nonconformists, some narrated by the people around them. The nonconformists of the stories were pretty diverse. The book tackled religious beliefs, dementia, poverty, racial discrimination, sexual confusion, and a bunch of other things.

The stories were compiled because of a single event wherein a high school student shot the kids who bullied him, and the multiple responses the U.S. government did. Apparently, the government blamed the violence children see on the internet and television. And get this: a girl who felt sympathy towards the killer was forced to undergo therapy. They thought she would be a copycat killer. They thought she was a threat.

I am an outcast. I mean, I don't get bullied as bad as the other guys, but I still get verbal abuse almost every day from the popular crowd. I could totally relate with some of the characters. I've been through some of the things they've been through. This was practically my life story. I hated how preteen books about bullying always end with the protag standing up to the bullies, because it doesn't work like that in real life. What I liked about this book was that the stories didn't really end with a completely happy ending. They were enough to give outcasts like me hope without being too fake and unrealistic. It was real.

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