Cover image for Whipping boy : the forty-year search for my twelve-year-old bully
Title:
Whipping boy : the forty-year search for my twelve-year-old bully
Author:
Kurzweil, Allen.
Personal Author:
Edition:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Harper, [2015]
Physical Description:
291 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations ; 24 cm
Summary:
"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"--
Language:
English
Personal Subject:
ISBN:
9780062269485

9780062298713
Format :
Book

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PS3561.U774 Z46 2015 Adult Non-Fiction Biography
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PS3561.U774 Z46 2015 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
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PS3561.U774 Z46 2015 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
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PS3561.U774 Z46 2015 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
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PS3561.U774 Z46 2015 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
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PS3561.U774 Z46 2015 Adult Non-Fiction Biography
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PS3561.U774 Z46 2015 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
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Summary

Summary

Winner of the Edgar#65533; 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.


Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Many people faced bullies as children. Not many have devoted considerable time and energy to tracking them down as adults. But that's just what author Kurzweil did, uncovering a remarkable tale of fraud, which he recounts in this plainspoken and earnest book. Decades after enduring abuse at the hands of his 12-year-old roommate, Cesar Augustus, at a Swiss boarding school, Kurzweil endeavors to track him down. The hunt, through thousands of pages of legal documents that fill milk crates and through encounters with unwilling or unhelpful contacts, reads like an engrossing detective story. Kurzweil is, by his own admission, a man obsessed. His emotions take a backseat to describing his investigatory feats, which lead him to a wide-ranging, multimillion-dollar scam in which Cesar played a role. More important than even the scam and the man Cesar became, however, is the poignant way that Kurzweil strives to get an explanation for the bully's bad behavior in order to heal the wounds he's carried since school. The story will resonate with anyone who had a Cesar growing up, as so many did.--Thoreson, Bridget Copyright 2015 Booklist


Publisher's Weekly Review

Childhood trauma fuels an adult obsession and an exploration of a flamboyant criminal caper in this rollicking but unfocused memoir. Novelist Kurzweil (A Case of Curiosities) was bullied by a roommate named Cesar Augustus at a tiny Swiss boarding school-being whipped with a belt is the worst outrage-and later in life set out to learn what had become of his tormentor. He discovered after many years that Cesar had gone to prison for his involvement in investment fraud. Cesar is a marginal figure through much of the book, and when we finally meet him, his impact is underwhelming; he comes off as an evasive and self-deluding hollow man with a repertoire of pathetic shady business ventures. But Kurzweil crafts an entertaining, sharply reported picaresque centering on the colorful leaders of the scam, who bamboozled their marks by posing as monocled European aristocrats and produced a fake deed from the fictional King of Mombessa, and on the investigators who caught them. The psychodrama between Kurzweil and Cesar doesn't have much emotional payoff, but it makes a serviceable hook for a comic-opera true crime saga that's ripe with hilarious humbuggery. Photos. Agent: Liz Darhansoff, Darhansoff & Verrill. (Jan.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Library Journal Review

Novelist Kurzweil (A Case of Curiosities) has given us a story too strange not to be true. As a ten-year-old attending boarding school in Switzerland, he was the victim of an especially cruel bully with the improbable name of Cesar Augustus. Then one day, Cesar was gone. Kurzweil finished out the year, and he too left the school, never to return. But he is nagged by memories of Cesar, and with his wife's encouragement, he begins to search for him. In the process he comes across a financial scheme that makes Bernie Madoff's look positively banal. One of the major players in the scheme is Cesar, whom Kurzweil eventually confronts. One flaw of the book is that, though what Cesar is described as having done to Kurzweil is horrendous, we are given an inadequate subjective or introspective sense of how the bullying made Kurzweil feel as an adult. For a memoirist, he is unusually distant from himself, making Cesar and his fellow schemers the true subject of this book. In that sense, Cesar still has the final word. VERDICT Criticisms of this memoir qua memoir aside, Kurzweil paces his book beautifully and it is recommended even for those who normally don't read nonfiction or memoirs. It moves like a thriller, is very funny, and in the right hands, would make a great movie. [See Prepub Alert, 7/7/14.] (c) Copyright 2015. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Table of Contents

Part I Switzerlandp. 1
Part II "We Hope to Make Your Journey Unforgettable"p. 45
Part II "A Lie, a Contrivance, a Fiction"p. 69
Part IV Submissionp. 101
Part V Window Dressingp. 135
Part VI "What Lies Within US"p. 155
Part VII Scoundrel Timep. 179
Part VIII "Paper in his Blood"p. 199
Part IX On Your Markp. 221
Part X Parallel Liesp. 249
Acknowledgmentsp. 285