A True Story About Being Bullied

Non-Fiction - Inspirational
156 Pages
Reviewed on 11/28/2014
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Janelle Alex, Ph.D. for Readers' Favorite

Gilbert Ohanian does a wonderful job dissecting the experience of bullying, not only from the child's perspective but from the parent's and teacher's viewpoints as well. In his book, Chestnuts: A True Story About Being Bullied, he shares his personal story of how he was bullied, the impact it had on him and how he came to recognize that his son was being bullied many years later. Ohanian shares key points that can help others recognize signs of bullying as well, but even more he shares how to discover the root causes of bullying and how those that are suffering from bullying can overcome the mindset and behavior of being a "victim". Ohanian knows first hand how much deeper bullying goes than just being teased, and often authority figures either try to sweep things under the carpet or do not believe it is a severe issue.

If you want to understand bullying in a much deeper way and discover a number of methods to deal with the bullying, Chestnuts: A True Story About Being Bullied is an excellent book for you. I was also really pleased to see how Ohanian shared that bullying is not just an experience that takes place during one's childhood years. It can extend into adulthood. This is not just about the horrific life-long impact that childhood bullying can have, but how bullies show up in our adult lives too. As an adult who was emotionally bullied as a child, I found Chestnuts to be filled with powerful wisdom on how to move forward from the trauma of bullying. I highly recommend this book to anyone - especially parents, whether they think their child experiences bullying or not.

Jack Magnus

Chestnuts: A True Story About Being Bullied is a non-fiction inspirational book written by Gilbert Ohanian. The author, an Armenian from Iran, was first subjected to abuse by bullies when he was sent to attend an English boarding school. His less-than-fluent English and hearing impairment singled him out and made him an ideal victim. His approach to surviving the bullying was to stand up for himself and fight back, but this strategy led to his expulsion from one school, and the stress impacted his health, education and life. Ohanian discusses what stressors combine to make bullies behave the way they do, and how they select their victims. He advocates asking for help in dealing with bullying behavior, not as an act of revenge, but simply to get the situation resolved. There is always someone who can help, even if you have to ask a few people first. He also offers steps that students can take to get themselves out of the bully-radar, such as finding friends with common interests and, if necessary, transferring to a school more suited to one's needs.

Gilbert Ohanian's inspirational book, Chestnuts: A True Story About Being Bullied, is an honest and open look at the author's own experience with being bullied and the steps he took to survive it. It's filled with useful advice and links to articles on the subject of bullying. As I read this book, I was able to relate to much of what the author experienced, both in my school and professional life. Like so many others, I did not think I had any recourse, especially in dealing with superiors in a professional setting. I wish I had had this book then, and I think it's a book that both parents and individuals should take a good look at. Bullies are out there, in all walks of life, in every aspect of life, and being able to identify bullying behavior and having sound strategies to deal with it can be a life-saver, literally. Chestnuts: A True Story About Being Bullied should be required reading for parents, teachers and those in the educational system. It's most highly recommended.

Jane Finch

Chestnuts: A True Story About Being Bullied by Gilbert Ohanian is a personal story of extreme bullying and the effect it had on the author’s life, self-esteem, and self-worth. It moves from the time bullying started in England at a boarding school and continued on to a public school in America. Even on the streets of London, he was attacked by those who thought their mission in life was to make others’ lives miserable. Gilbert looks back at how he dealt with the instances of bullying and what he now sees he could have done better to cope with what was happening. He looks at other factors that can affect the victim and the bully, such as authoritative figures and the way they deal with situations, and even examines what makes a bully act in the way they do.

This is a heart-rending story because it shows the extent that emotional, psychological and physical bullying can affect a person’s whole outlook and view of the world. There is so much bullying in everyday lives, from the school room to the work place, and this book provides a way out by showing ways to empower the victim to stand up against the bully. The author, Gilbert Ohanian, has put his heart and soul into this book which not only shows the damage that can be done, but gives hope that a victim can be an victor. This should be a book not just for the victims, but for schools and parents to examine and discuss. Perhaps one day someone somewhere will get through to those who think the only way to succeed in life is to dominate.

Mamta Madhavan

Chestnuts: A True Story About Being Bullied by Gilbert Ohanian exposes the real truth behind bullying and how it is spreading slowly like an epidemic and changing the lives of young people in a bad way. The author confirms the fact that young children, especially middle school children, feel that their popularity is increased when they are bullies. The power struggle between the bullied and the bully is discussed and the author's personal experience gives the topic an authenticity and makes it a compelling story. It's a great book to read for those kids dealing with bullies. The book educates parents and teachers about bullying and how to put a stop to this type of behavior prevalent in society now.

The book reaches out to readers in a big way because it is the author's true story. I found the book informative as it looks at bullying from all angles: that of a bully, teacher, parent and the child. It is also useful and helpful for the victims as the author also speaks about where he went wrong while handling the bullies. The author takes readers through the topic step by step, and explains how bullying affects the psyche of the victim. The 10 early warning signs of bullying mentioned by the author are useful as it will help teachers and parents detect quickly if a child is being bullied. It is an insightful book that provides resources to the victims and their families.

Stephen Fisher

Chestnuts: A True Story About Being Bullied by Gilbert Ohanian is a book about bullying. He recounts his first-hand experiences of being tormented as a foreigner growing up in a boarding school in England. The bullies he encountered made his life miserable. Moving from school to school, and even to another country gave him insights to the different kinds of bullies and the bullying he encountered - physical, emotional and psychological. The advice that he received, for the most part, didn’t really help the situations, but rather helped him to begin understanding that there were different types of bullies, and how the school systems either ignored or did little to prevent bullying. He eventually learned how to stand up and begin to defend himself. But was that enough to stop the tormentors from continuing the deprivation of his character?

Chestnuts was the name of a game they played, as well as what the bullies threw at him when he tried to sleep at night. Gilbert Ohanian uses a writing style that not only describes what he was feeling, but how demoralizing bullying is. With every segment, he gives all of the possible solutions for that particular moment. Gilbert gives observations that are are well documented and referenced with a sense of urgency to the victims, and how they can educate themselves. He also gives suggestions for enlightening those around them. Chestnuts is not only for victims of bullying to come to terms with the cruelty they have faced, but to educate themselves and their children on how to ultimately combat this social problem that appears in every level of society. Chestnuts is a must-read book for everyone, whether you were bullied, or even a bully and didn’t realise it. Mr. Ohanian has really done his homework on how we all can combat this crisis.