Although not a new, unknown aspect of growing up and interacting with others—both face-to-face or via technology—bullying seems to be more rampant these days than ever before. Perhaps it is because we are more privy to information and details regarding bullies and their victims as our world seems to get smaller and smaller through the dissemination of stories over the internet and social media. Or perhaps it is because many people, who wrestle with their own pain, are becoming desensitized to the feelings of others.
In Nic Nelson and the Diamonds of Denmark, bullying becomes a large cross to bear for Nic Nelson; and it starts on the very first page of the story.
Fortunately for Nic, part of the solution to the problem of his being an ongoing victim of bullying presents itself in the first chapter. I touched on it in an earlier blog post regarding friendship. While not the only solution, having a close-knit circle of friends is a huge deterrent to being bullied.
But it doesn’t happen overnight. Nic’s bullying problem with Johnny begins at the pinball machines; and although Nic’s soon-to-be best friend, Kevin, shows up to help, the J Gang is not easily discouraged. Because they attend the same school and participate in many of the same activities, the opportunities for Johnny to antagonize and bully Nic are plentiful. As you’ll find in the scenario between Nic, Johnny and the J Gang in the first chapter, Nic doesn’t always walk away unscathed, although it may look, at times, that he might.
And, as is the case with Nic and Johnny, getting to the bottom of a bully’s motives for his or her actions isn’t always easy. For those being bullied, the attacks seem to come out of nowhere without provocation. Not knowing Johnny at all, for a good while Nic finds it very hard to understand why he is Johnny’s target. Fortunately, Nic has Kevin and the rest of his gang (Herbert, Cindy, Dante, and Philip) to help him figure things out, as well as lessen the pain of the constant barrage of the J Gang’s taunting and mean-spirited actions.
Whether sledding, playing dodgeball or entering a paintball competition, Nic finds he must constantly be looking over his shoulder and planning strategies with his friends in order to outsmart Johnny and somehow gain his respect. You will need to read Nic Nelson and the Diamonds of Denmark in order to find out if Nic is ever successful at defeating his nemesis, Johnny, and his J Gang.