What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Permanent Record confronts high school bullying in an unusual and complex way. A super-bright teen fights back at the goons who mock his Iranian heritage and Muslim faith by becoming a crafty thief and learning to make explosive devices. The novel leaves the reader with an unsettling look at the injustices that result when racial stereotyping turns to mania. Two explosions in the book do no serious damage and the thefts are petty.
What's the story?
Bud Hess gets a fresh start at a straitlaced Catholic high school in Chicago after racial and religious heckling (his heritage is Iranian and Muslim) bedevil him into making a list of bullies at his old school and blowing up a bathroom toilet instead of them. Medication and psychiatry do not quell his defiance, and when cryptic messages appear in the school newspaper and some students get sick after drinking punch at homecoming, it appears Bud will take the fall. His fortunes reverse when he begins talking about his feelings instead of burying them.
Is it any good?
Author Leslie Stella succeeds in taking us into the psyche of a smart and well-meaning teen who's nearly driven mad by bullies obsessed with his Iranian Muslim heritage. "Telling people the truth about yourself is like daring them to screw with you," says 16-year-old Bud Hess, known as Badi Hessamizadeh before his father decided to change the boy's name to give him a fresh start.
Bud dominates the book; no other character comes to life, except perhaps his father, who's funny from a teen's point of view in trying so hard to do well by his son and failing so miserably. Some young readers will notice that Bud, who's ashamed of being bullied, gets no real help until he talks about it. With all its insights into one well-drawn character, the book offers a pretty routine plot and an ending that may be more implausible than surprising.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about racial and ethnic stereotypes and fears. Are there some people you're scared of just because of the way they look?
Bud's aunt speaks English perfectly but pretends to strangers that she knows zero English. She says it makes life easier. Why would that be?
You're a transportation safety inspector. How could you tell, just by looking, if someone is trying to sneak a dangerous object onto an airplane?
|Genre:||Coming of Age|
|Topics:||Adventures, Brothers and sisters, Friendship, High school, Misfits and underdogs|
|Publication date:||March 5, 2013|
|Number of pages:||288|
|Publisher's recommended age(s):||14 - 17|
|Available on:||Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, Kindle|