Reviewed on 3rd February 2017

Break the Cycle – An Anthology

Genre: Fiction / Short Story/Novellas
Break the Cycle – An Anthology Synopsis

This collection of short stories explores bullying from a variety of perspectives. Teacher. Sister. Brother. Friend. Parent. Social worker. Human being. Victim. Perpetrator. All of life is here, in all its inspiring, thought-provoking, devastating glory. So how do we break the cycle? Clearly, it’s not going to be easy… For some, there is no recovery. No hope. For many, their light fades all too soon at the hands or words of bullies. BUT. There are others who fight. By stroke of luck or courage, some find a way out – or someone spots their misery. Bullying can be at its most devastating when we’re young and most vulnerable, but other tales demonstrate how bullying may strike in adult life too. All proceeds of this book will be donated to the NSPCC, the UK children’s charity.

Break the Cycle – An Anthology Review

How Do We Break the Cycle of Bullying?

Bullying is a topic we have talked about a fair bit here at The Glass House. It is an issue that touches almost every one of us at some point in our lives. Either directly or indirectly. It is an issue that seems to be out of control. But then is that simply because social media puts it in front of us more? Or is it because we are finally getting to a point where we can talk about what is going on behind closed doors more readily?

We have discussed the pains of bullying from multiple points of view. From that of a mother dealing with her child being bullied for the first time, and from the point of view of a mother who has discovered her child is the bully. But we have never really delved into how much it affects our greater lives. Or that bullying can come in many guises at so many different points in your life.

Sarah Michelle Lynch has done just that with this new book, Break the Cycle : An Anthology.

Together with thirteen other authors she has compiled an anthology of short stories that highlight the many different ways bullying can impact on our lives at all stages and in a multitude of different ways.

Most of us will only ever understand bullying either from our own personal experiences or from what we see in the press. With the rise of the number of children committing suicide due to cyber bullying or bullying, do we really know what is going on behind closed doors?

As a mother, the word ‘bullying’ sends shivers down my spine. I worry about how it will affect my children. Are they telling me the truth? Are they bullies? Are they being bullied? Would a teacher step in to defend them? A friend? Has anyone noticed something I haven’t seen? Would anyone even stop to notice?

Do we ever consider how these situations will affect us in later life? Bullying can end in someone being stronger in adulthood, able to defend others and standing up for those less fortunate. Or on the flip side, retreating into themselves. Or worse still, bullying can, and at times does, end in death.

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The stories in this anthology are so varied, and it’s hard to take each one individually and explain them without giving too much away. I honestly considered reviewing each story, but there is one main reason I have not.

Because they need to be read, absorbed and understood. They deserve more than a paragraph summing up what they are about. They deserve to be read not summarised.

Break the Cycle is not an easy book to read. It is heartbreaking. Tear-inducing and at times blood boiling. But it is real. It is raw and a true reflection of society today and how we have all become so incredibly blinded to how much our words can affect others.

It is a book that I will keep on my shelf for the day my daughter is old enough to understand the words. A book that all teenagers should be given in school to make them think outside of their own lives, and a book that all parents should read. Why? Because it makes an impact. It needs to make an impact on more people. It deserves to be on the bookshelves of each and every home.

But what is the main message of this book?

Among this list of short stories is there one lesson I can take away from them that links them all in a wider way that just a broad subject of bullying?

Yes – I think there is. The main point I took away from this book, was that each and every young person out there deserves the chance to be heard and protected. Each and every single child needs to feel safe, and as adults we are the only ones who can protect them. We need to be vigilant and look out for the signs. Because among those tiny little souls that litter the cold harsh concrete of the school yards, are our future leaders, teachers and influencers.

How do we want them to lead our future generations and what life experience will colour the judgment they take forward in their lives? They deserve the best because our grandchildren and great grandchildren deserve the best. And the only way we can ensure that is by protecting them and ensuring they are not damaged by the hurtful words and actions of other.

Bullying affects everyone – but it doesn’t have to. If we stop every now and again and look around. Take notice. Understand and not judge, we might – just might, be able to Break the Cycle.

(Note from The Editor: You can order the book from Amazon using the link above if you are in the UK, however, if you would like to order a signed copy of the book from Sarah directly, you can order directly here. Sarah wrote a beautiful article about her inspiration for the book – to take a look you will find the article here.) 

Break the Cycle was written in collaboration with the following authors: 
Andrew Lynch, Anna-Maria Athanasiou, Blake Rivers, Cameron Lincoln, Carrie Elks, Charlotte E Hart, Cliona Woods, David E Gordon, Eleanor Lloyd-Jones, H. A. Robinson, LJ Stock, Muriel Garcia, Sarah Michelle Lynch, Victoria L. James. 

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