Heart Transplant

Heart Transplant

5.0 2
by Andrew Vachss
     
 

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School bullying is universally decried, bemoaned, and condemned. Newspapers, magazines, television, and movies all reflect the ugly truth ... bullying is not only on the rise, but becoming more dangerous every day. Whether it's a teenager committing suicide as a result of a Facebook posting or a group of schoolchildren taunting another autistic child and filming it

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Overview

School bullying is universally decried, bemoaned, and condemned. Newspapers, magazines, television, and movies all reflect the ugly truth ... bullying is not only on the rise, but becoming more dangerous every day. Whether it's a teenager committing suicide as a result of a Facebook posting or a group of schoolchildren taunting another autistic child and filming it for the "entertainment" of others, the longest-lasting, deepest-scarring impact of bullying is emotional, not physical. Failure to understand this has handicapped an already-insipid series of failed "solutions."

Heart Transplant is aimed at actually *changing* the way we deal with perhaps the most critical issue for children and parents alike today. To accomplish this mission, an entirely new medium was created. Neither a graphic novel nor a self-help book, it uses elements of both to deconstruct bullying, and to offer both teens and their parents the true "facts of life."

Nine-year-old Sean's only experience with parenting was the series of men his alcoholic mother made him call "Daddy." He knows he doesn't belong ... anywhere. And never will. He sees himself as others see him: Outsider.

When Sean comes home from school one day, he opens the door to a pair of corpses — his latest "father's" attempt at dope-dealing ended badly. The police arrive, the bodies are bagged, and the "Welfare lady" is telling Sean how much he's going to love his new foster home when an older man suddenly crosses the threshold. He tells the social worker that he's the father of the dead man, so that makes him responsible for his "grandson." And he offers Sean a choice: come and live with him, or take his chances with foster care.

Life with the man Sean comes to call "Pop" is Paradise compared to the past. A brilliant and hardworking student, Sean finally has someone to show his report card to ... and he listens to Pop harder than he ever did to a teacher. Still an Outsider, yes, but now there's one place on earth where he knows he's always welcome. And always safe.

But puberty brings Sean into a new world; a world where he is bullied every day ... a world where his status as "Outsider" is confirmed in endlessly cruel ways. He never complains, but Pop quickly discovers the truth. When Sean protests that "It didn't hurt." his real father responds that he knows that's a lie ... because when his son is hurt, he hurts, too. This is Sean's first experience with empathy, and his first understanding of emotional abuse.

His understanding of bullying comes later ... when Pop shows him not only its true roots, but its antidote. Pop gives his son what he needs most: A heart transplant. It is not until after Pop's death that Sean learns the special sacrifice his father had made to give him that transplant, and that final understanding is Sean's ultimate legacy.

Timely and confrontational, HEART TRANSPLANT is the gripping story of young boy's transformation from bullied "outsider" to true manhood. The universality of this work is such that what Sean learns is communicated to bullied children and their parent(s) alike. It speaks with a truth that cannot be denied, but also with a response that can be replicated.

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Editorial Reviews

VOYA - C.J. Bott
The first part of this book is the fictional story of Sean—small but overweight; smart but not resourceful; resigned to unhappiness with an insecure, alcoholic mother and her string of abusive, drunk boyfriends she insists be called "Daddy." When she and her lover are murdered, Sean gets a life-saving break, the latest daddy's own father steps in and offers to be his grandfather. Pop also teaches him what to value and what to defend. With Vachss's words and Caruso's bold pencil illustrations, Sean's story captures the reader, but it is just one scenario of bullying. In the second part of the book, "The Rules of Engagement," Mucha, a social worker, writes from experience about dealing with both bullies and targets. Defining a bully as "a person who uses strength or power to harm or intimate those who are weaker," Mucha, to his credit, does not just apply that to teens but also to adults. His discussion has a broader application; he talks about bullies and victims without identifying a particular age group and dispels the myths that no longer apply. This combination of three artists' works presents a book that will work with teens, adults, bullies, and targets. Bullying is about power through strength, money, age, and/or popularity and social standing. It can happen in middle school, the neighborhood, or the business world. It relates to any of the many ways people judge each other. Bullying is about those who "have" over those who do not. Heart Transplant is an excellent and involving resource about bullying. Reviewer: C.J. Bott

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781595825759
Publisher:
Dark Horse Comics
Publication date:
10/26/2010
Pages:
100
Product dimensions:
13.00(w) x 10.10(h) x 0.80(d)
Age Range:
13 - 18 Years

What People are saying about this

Trey Bundy
"In more than a decade working with kids who came from tough places, I've never found anything that so directly identifies the cause of human dysfunction -- or the solution. Those who wish to understand the impact of bullying on a living being need to start here. "-Trey Bundy, Journalist, San Francisco Chronicle and The Bay Citizen First Place, William Randolph Hearst Foundation Journalism Awards Program, 2008
David Marsh
"Heart Transplant is a necessity in a country that sometimes seems to be run by bullies at every level, from kindergarten to Capitol Hill. It fits the bill perfectly, with a simple and simply terrific story, wise and scholarly commentary that lets nobody off the hook, and the incandescent Rorschach of Frank Caruso's illustrations. If you're wondering not just why bullying happens, but what to do to about it, read Heart Transplant. It ranks alongside Andrew Vachss' Another Chance to Get It Right as a signpost on the road to a more fully human society."--(Dave Marsh Sirius XM radio host ("Live from the Land of Hopes and Dreams," "Sirius Left") Author, music critic, editor of Rock & Rap Confidential)
David Hechler
"Vachss and Caruso are nothing if not ambitious. Their clear goal is the eradication of bullying. But they're too smart to preach. They know the power of a story that's eye-opening, touching and wise. They also understand that a fight like this one requires hand-to-hand combat, grappling with hard realities. Their book is the equivalent of boot camp."-David Hechler, Senior Reporter, Corporate Counsel and The American Lawyer Author, The Battle and the Backlash: The Child Sexual Abuse War Fellow for Children and the News at Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism
Joe R. Lansdale
"This is a story about someone showing you the door to your own personal strength and character, and learning to believe that all you have to do is step on through." -Professor Joe R. Lansdale, Creator, Shen Chuan martial science
Joel A. Dvoskin
"[T]his gripping story gives kids and grownups alike a road map to change, both for individual kids and more importantly, for the school as a community. ... This book should be required reading in every elementary school in America[.]"-Joel A. Dvoskin, Ph.D., ABPP Asst Clinical Professor, Univ. of Arizona Medical School President, American Psychological Association's Law Society division
"Marc "Animal" MacYoung
"The darkness is a terrifying place, especially for a child. When you are lost in it, it seems that there is no way out. All directions look equally untrustworthy and perilous to the person in the depths. In Heart Transplant, Vachss cuts through the BS and shows what it's like for those lost in that darkness. He also shows what 'caregivers' need to understand in order to develop the trust to help those who are lost. This book is a must-read for both those who are lost and those who wish to help them find their way out of the darkness.--("Marc "Animal" MacYoung Owner, No-Nonsense Self-Defense Co-founder, Conflict Communications)
Bruce D. Perry
"Teachers and parents will find that Heart Transplant can be the perfect lens to focus meaningful dialogue about the origins of bullying and the pervasive nature of the exploitation of power in our society. The scope of important, inter-related themes that this work highlights is broad--so this can be a tool for a classroom to be used for much more than merely addressing bullying."-Bruce D. Perry, M.D., Ph.D. Senior Fellow, The ChildTrauma Academy
Dave Marsh
"Heart Transplant is a necessity in a country that sometimes seems to be run by bullies at every level, from kindergarten to Capitol Hill. It fits the bill perfectly, with a simple and simply terrific story, wise and scholarly commentary that lets nobody off the hook, and the incandescent Rorschach of Frank Caruso's illustrations. If you're wondering not just why bullying happens, but what to do to about it, read Heart Transplant. It ranks alongside Andrew Vachss' Another Chance to Get It Right as a signpost on the road to a more fully human society." -Dave Marsh Sirius XM radio host ("Live from the Land of Hopes and Dreams," "Sirius Left"), Author, music critic, editor of Rock & Rap Confidential
Flora Colao
"Heart Transplant is a book that depicts how deeply hurt a child can be from neglectful and abusive relationships. However, it also shows the profound healing that can come from an empathetic and loving relationship. ... [It] makes it clear that defending what's important to us and protecting what we love begins at home."-Flora Colao, LCSW Founder, Rape Crisis Program at St. Vincent's Hospital Founder, S.A.F.E.'s Children's Program Co-author, Your Children Should Know
Mike McNamara
"As a Police Officer for 30 years, I am asking you to please read Heart Transplant. Read the words of Andrew Vachss; read the words of Zak Mucha; study the artwork of Frank Caruso ... and learn the Truth."--(Deputy Chief Mike McNamara Park Forest (IL) Police Department Founder, Licensed For Life, a DUI-prevention program for teens)
Professor Joe R. Lansdale
"This is a story about someone showing you the door to your own personal strength and character, and learning to believe that all you have to do is step on through."(Professor Joe R. Lansdale Creator, Shen Chuan martial science)

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