So, I beta read Dear Teddy part three by JD Stockholm. The current working title is I think is “Teddy and Stupid Boy”
When he sent me the file, it was titled Stupid Boy. First thing I wanted to do was change it. Isn’t that how we are though? Wanting to just erase the wrong, and make it right? I did that throughout the manuscript in fact, changed words to erase the lies. I was like an out of control parent, storming through his past and rewriting shit like it might actually help.
He said he got a good laugh, so, I’m glad for that.
But you know, the most amazing thing happened while I read book three. I began to really understand this kid. I began to “get” why he didn’t want to look in the mirror, “get” why he felt “bad”.
Reading these accounts in the child’s pov has allowed me to actually watch how the abuse took hold of him, how he processed it and how his phobias were born.
Tremendously educational while at the same time, horrific.
Some things that really struck me in book three, I mean really slapped awe into me, was this kid’s compassion! The best way for me to explain it, is to show it. Warning…this scene is taken from the part in his life when he’s being sexually abused by strangers all day long at a “camp” his “parents” sent him to:
My hand is sore. I don’t be able to hold the cover very tight. The girl next to me has too much and I don’t be able to pull it back. The dark man made it all sore because he squished it all down. He didn’t mean to. He said he was sorry about it. I told him it was okay. I didn’t want him to be sad about it.
I swear. This broke my heart. I mean, here’s this sweet kid, suffering the most horrific shit, and he has the heart to care about the man who hurt him. Un-believable. Truly. I couldn’t even comment on what form of torture would befit this mother-effer. I was too blown away.
What’s different about book three too is the whole Stupid Boy theme. At this time, this kid is sure he’s got to be the most stupid kid on the planet. He can’t do anything right, everything he does makes people hate him and hurt him. The author opens every chapter with a small Stupid Boy story that summarizes what the chapter holds. So very clever, and as usual, the voice, the vocabulary, is just remarkable. I mean, Stupid Boy is my hero! I love Stupid Boy, he’s like the most awesome kid on the planet to me. He was even nice to the monsters in his stories:
Stupid Boy and his friends all went out for the day. They went to the big hills that touched the sky. They climbed the hills. It took a long, long time. Maybe a week. There was lots and lots of snow. It was all white and shiny and cold.
Mr. Ted thought maybe there would be penguins. They got to hear a growl outside. It was a snow monster. It was all big and scary. He got big giant claws that was all black. He got sharp teeth too and was going to eat everyone all up.
Mr. Ted and Stupid Boy got their swords and went outside to chop the monster up. Mr. Ted hit the monster with his sword and the monster cried.
Stupid Boy feeled sad in his tummy. The snow monster was cold. He wanted to sit in the tent by the fire.
They all got to be friends.
I vote Stupid Boy for president!
Another amazing thing I learned was why the child in the story thought he was bad. He didn’t like when his father did sexual things to him, and so, he was sure it was the bad inside him that made him not like the sexual things his father and mother made him do. His parents were so good at pretending it was normal and good, that the child figured he was the bad one for having a problem with it!
That just blew me away when I realized that was happening.
I think the end of this book was the hardest for me to read out of all the books so far. In fact, I even told him, “I don’t think you’re going to be able to put this, it’s too horrible, people aren’t going to be able to read it.”
And it was only a day’s account at that hellish camp they sentenced him to. I asked him how long he went there. He told me every weekend and during holidays, for nearly two years!
Why was this abuse worse? Because it hurt him more. He wanted to go home. He wanted his mom. His dad. This abuse at the hands of strangers was much worse on his psyche than any other. And it went on for nearly two years. The reader wouldn’t be able to endure that torture, because I believe they become very tied to him throughout the book and would feel like they were making him live it again.
And for others like me, if it’s there, I must read it. Or I will feel like he’s shared something and I have left him alone to bear it. So, I’m not sure how much of it will get left or removed, but, I do hope he does whatever he needs to.
Well, this concludes my review on the Dear Teddy part 3 book with the working title of Teddy And Stupid Boy. I thank the author for allowing me the privilege of reading this account and not being angry at me for marking it all up with my temper tantrums. Be looking for the release, it’s coming soon! Help me spread the news, help the author educate the public about the hidden side of child abuse.