About a week ago I posted a blog entry directing readers to an article on Andrew Vachss's web site, The Zero. The article was on the subject of bullying and as part of the post I also incuded some of my own commentary on bullying. Additionally I mentioned that I would soon be reviewing a complete book devoted to the sugject.
HEART TRANSPLANT is that book. It is written by Andrew Vachss, richly illustrated by Frank Caruso, and features an anchoring essay at the end of the book by Zak Mucha (who also wrote the previously touted article).
The fictional prose that tells the story at the heart of the book is by Vachss --- widely noted as a best-selling author of crime novels (most notabley the Burke series) and a lawyer who exclusively represents children and youth.
This time he relates the tale of Sean, a bullied, neglected child who has resigned himself to be one of the "invisible" kids --- the kind of kid, in his own words, who is only seen by others when they want to make him feel little in order to make themselves feel big. As the sory unfolds, Sean is taken in by a crusty old Irishman named Paddy, whom the boy relates to as a grandfather and begins to call "Pops". Through Paddy, Sean begins to realize his own strengths and sense of worth until he is ready to emerge from those shadows of invisibility, recognizing along the way that in order to do this he must be willng pay the price of confronting the kind of bullies who have belittled him all his life and make them recognize that continuing to try and do so is going to come at a cost to them --- every time.
While not truly a graphic novel, the illustrations by Caruso that enhance every page add power and amplification to the words (which certainly are not without impact all on their own).
This an important, thought-provoking, inspiring collaboration.
HEART TRANSPLANT deserves to be in every public and middle school library across the and should be read and discussed by families everywhere.
For further details on this book you can also check out my review (and others)on Amazon.