In James Roy’s Max Quigley: Technically Not a Bully, Australian 6th grader Max Quigley is the biggest kid at school. He and his mate Jared casually torment, tease, and bully just about everyone around them. He’s confident, self-centered, and completely clueless about how his behavior impacts other people. He claims, repeatedly, not to be a bully since he doesn’t physically hurt people, steal or make them cry; instead, he’s really proud of his powers of “persuasion.”
Things start to change when the mother of his favorite victim, Nerdstrom, suggests a plan to help both boys work through this: Triffin will tutor Max in math and both boys will spend time with each other on the weekends. Max’s parents, at wit’s end, agree to the plan, much to both boys’ chagrin. Their subsequent interaction is uneasy with some realistic stumbling blocks, but they slowly start to share each other’s strengths and see each other in a new light.
Roy gives Max opportunities for genuine growth in this story and handles the subject of bullying with a light and sympathetic touch. He weaves in humor with Max’s drawings (similarities to both Diary of a Wimpy Kid and The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian) and leads the reader on a journey that offers hope for both the perpetrators and victims.
- Posted by Cori