Finally, I am pleased to announce that Stupid Boy, will be released tomorrow. The third book in the Dear Teddy series.
” I am a stupid boy, with stupid hair and stupid clothes. I am always stupid, forever. My badness comes out and makes it all stupid. I don’t tell Mr. Ted though. He is my friend. We go outside and we get to play. We chop up all the bad people with our swords. We play with Andrew too. He is magic, he is invisible. He doesn’t know that I am Stupid Boy. Nobody ever wants Stupid Boy.”
Stupid Boy is the third instalment of Dear Teddy, and continues the pain-filled journey of a seven-year old boy through his horrific childhood of abuse. In his own words, he shows you his scars and tells you the lies that he believes; every page an accounting of the deliberate destruction of a child by those he loves and the strangers he is forced to please.
His gentle spirit will reach out and amaze you with its strength. Wrap your arms around him as he opens his heart once more and shares his life with you.
His story continues…
A review from a dear friend, Cyn, who beta read Stupid Boy for me 🙂
Have you ever felt such deep anger and hatred for two total strangers that you would happily hunt them down and cause them great physical harm? Well, this is how you will feel when you read JD Stockholm’s third book of the Teddy series. Any parent who can subject their child to the horrors that these people did should be made to undergo the same kind of torture. And worse. Because they deserve it. Their innocent child did not.
After reading the first two books, Dear Teddy and Telling Teddy, I remember walking around in a haze for days after. The books had shocked me and affected me so profoundly that it seemed I could think of nothing else. At home, at work, in the car. My own problems suddenly seemed dreadfully small and insignificant in comparison. The thing is, I knew about child abuse…but I didn’t actually “know”. These books open your eyes to a nightmarishly harsh reality that you wish did not exist and make you realise that, as a society, we are not doing nearly enough to help these innocent, helpless children.
I thought I had read the worst of it and that things could not possibly get any worse for our little hero in Stupid Boy. Unfortunately, I was so very wrong. This third book serves to illustrate just how deep his parents’ depravity runs. It will leave you frozen in horror and rage. Despite having realised from the first two books what kind of monsters we are dealing with, these people’s actions still succeed in shocking you into speechlessness.
The seven-year-old little boy still longs for his parents’ love and acceptance. He still desperately wants to be able to live with them because he needs them in his life. It is heartwrenching to see his sadness and despair for these undeserving people. He is like every other child who adores and even idolises his parents and craves their love and approval in return. But these are not normal people or parents worthy of his love. They do not even deserve the titles “Mum” and “Dad”. However, this is not something an innocent little boy’s mind can grasp or understand. He still believes that everything bad that happens to him is his fault and that it is because of “the evil” inside of him.
The role his mother plays in his sexual abuse, which is made much clearer in this book, is deplorable. You are appalled by her abominable behaviour and outraged that she could reject and maltreat her young son in that way. His father’s neglect and barbarity continues to be just as contemptible as it was. However, what shocks you most is how far these people’s mistreatment of their son eventually goes. The actions of his parents in this book are shockingly heinous. They are perverse throughout the book but I literally felt as if my heart had been ripped out at what they allowed him to be subjected to in the end. It is impossible to relate to their inhumanity and their complete lack of compassion or parental instinct.
It is ironic how this young boy tries to protect his mother in one instance in the book, when it should be the other way around. She should be trying to protect her child but she has done nothing remotely close to that. In fact, she has allowed the exact opposite to occur. Even here she pushes him away, rejecting his help and him once again. It tears you up inside and makes you hate her even more. As for his father, you seriously question whether he has any humaneness or any sense of decency in him at all. Whether he is even human.
The story is made even more effective by the way the writer has us see it from a little boy’s perspective. His childlike mind and speech make him totally loveable and his innocence is utterly endearing and heartrending. At one point, his benevolence and kind-heartedness even has him worrying whether he may have caused hurt or discomfort to the very people abusing him. This is one of the things that makes this entire tragedy even more saddening.
Another thing that breaks your heart is how he believes he is so bad that not even God wants him in heaven. All this, after he has just survived another case of brutal abuse. He wonders why he did not die and comes to the conclusion that he is not good enough for heaven. Also upsetting is the fact that he says and thinks this with such acceptance. He believes he is responsible for and deserves all this atrocity. Atrocities that will make you shudder and cry.
Stupid Boy also broaches a much debated and predominant issue in today’s society. How and why a child can turn to self-harm, imaginary friendships or Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. How it can engender a false sense of alleviation or relief for a child.
JD Stockholm is an extremely talented writer and has again done an amazing job in making you experience the boy’s anguish, terror and despondency as if you were there with him. You feel it so deeply that you wish you could climb into the pages of the book and pull him out of all the dreadfulness. The author should be applauded for his courage to write these books that talk about such painfully horrendous experiences. They have served to open our blind eyes and urge us to act. They urge us to stop looking the other way and acknowledge a grisly truth that we would rather deny.
I highly recommend read this book, as well as the first two if anyone has not already read them. A definite five-star rating.