Deprogramming A Bully: The Barber Chair Series, Book I
*I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review*
I’m honestly not sure how to approach this review. There are many different aspects to this book that make me pause when I try to figure out exactly what rating it deserves.
Let me start by saying, this is a good book: it has a great concept, and a very strong message for young readers and parents alike. But… there is just something strange about it. Maybe it’s the odd illustrations, the weird names of the characters, or maybe the coordination in the story.
The story centers on a young man who has been having trouble in school—like most young boys. What makes Boone so special is that he takes out all of his problems on everyone around him—specifically the timid kids, as his mother says—but Boone’s major problem is the prettiest girl in school. Unfortunately for him, this beauty is not interested which causes him to lash out at every guy who dares to even look at her.
Being the responsible parent that she is, Boone’s mother seeks help for her son’s behavior and that’s where the barbershop comes into play. When Logan, the local barber, witnesses Boone acting out against his mother, he decides to step in and help. Except the help he can offer isn’t anything like what Boone or his mother expected.
Logan has Boone transported to a world whose inhabitants have one goal: to deprogram bullies. That means Boone gets turned into a robot and must learn his lesson or risk losing everything.
What I found so interesting about this book was the concept itself. I have never really been to a barber before but I thought the inclusion of such a relationship in the story was unique. You’re supposed to be able to trust your barbers and confide in them, not get sent to another world. Even though I had read the description to the story before agreeing to review it, I was still surprised by how things unfolded. Everything seemed so ordinary in the beginning until suddenly, the main character was a robot in another dimension.
Now, the things I didn’t like about this story were definitely the illustrations and the style of writing. I’m a bit lenient on this book because it is for children but I just wish it’d had stronger writing. Sometimes it felt like I was reading a grocery list: Boone did this, then Boone said that, Boone smiled, Boone felt angry, blah…blah…blah… When a book reads like that, it feels less like a story and more like a point by point replay of a story.
My last complaint, which is more of a personal note than anything, is the target audience. This book is written as if it is for children but I’m not sure if kids or parents will enjoy it more. The need for literature to take part in this Anti-Bullying movement is strong but … is it interesting? If I were a kid, would I honestly want to read a book about mean kids getting turned into robots so they can learn to be nice again? Just food for thought.
All in all, I would still recommend this book to readers of all ages. Those with an interest in science fiction may enjoy this a bit more, and anyone who likes books with a strong message will certainly want a copy.