Whipping Boy: The Forty-Year Search for My Twelve-Year-Old Bully (Hardcover)

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After the untimely death of his father, young Allen Kurzweil looks forward to attending a boarding school in the Swiss Alps, where his father was raised. He is attracted by the promise of fresh air, hiking, and the camaraderie of other boys. Once there, however, he is badly bullied by an older boy, with the unlikely name of Cesar Augustus. For years afterwards he is haunted by the memories. Decades later, when his own son is bullied, Ray decides to track down Cesar. What he encounters in his search can only be put in the category of “you can’t make this stuff up!”  A substantive memoir with a whacky side, this is a book you will not want to put down. ~ Jane

— From Jane


Winner of the Edgar(R) Award for Best Fact Crime

The true account of one boy's lifelong search for his boarding-school bully.

Equal parts childhood memoir and literary thriller, Whipping Boy chronicles prize-winning author Allen Kurzweil's search for his twelve-year-old nemesis, a bully named Cesar Augustus. The obsessive inquiry, which spans some forty years, takes Kurzweil all over the world, from a Swiss boarding school (where he endures horrifying cruelty) to the slums of Manila, from the Park Avenue boardroom of the world's largest law firm to a federal prison camp in Southern California.

While hunting down his tormentor, Kurzweil encounters an improbable cast of characters that includes an elocution teacher with ill-fitting dentures, a gang of faux royal swindlers, a crime investigator "with paper in his blood," and a onocled grand master of the Knights of Malta. Yet for all its global exoticism and comic exuberance, Kurzweil's riveting account is, at its core, a heartfelt and suspenseful narrative about the "parallel lives" of a victim and his abuser.

A scrupulously researched work of nonfiction that renders a childhood menace into an unlikely muse, Whipping Boy is much more than a tale of karmic retribution; it is a poignant meditation on loss, memory, and mourning, a surreal odyssey born out of suffering, nourished by rancor, tempered by wit, and resolved, unexpectedly, in a breathtaking act of personal courage.

Whipping Boy features two 8-page black-and-white photo inserts and 83 images throughout.

Coverage from NPR

Product Details
ISBN: 9780062269485
ISBN-10: 0062269488
Publisher: Harper
Publication Date: January 20th, 2015
Pages: 304
Language: English