Whipping Boy: The Forty-Year Search for My Twelve-Year-Old Bully – Allen Kurzweil

A Schlow Library Selection: As author Allen Kurzweil observes, the convoluted and twists and turns his Edgar Award-winning biography Whipping Boy reveals would likely not be believed if he had written it as a novel.

As a 10-year-old boy, the author was sent to a Swiss boarding school after his father died, where he had the misfortune of rooming with a bully named Cesar. The youngest student at the school, Kurzweil often found himself as Cesar’s target, leading to a forced re-enactment of “39 Lashes” from Jesus Christ Superstar, resulting in the title of the book.

Life goes on and the students go their separate ways, but Cesar remains a disturbing presence in Kurzweil’s life until he finally decides to track him down some 40 years later. With assistance from sources ranging from his own cousin to federal investigators–many of whom help because of being bullied themselves–the author finally does locate his nemesis.

Ultimately a search for a fatherless boy’s closure, Kurzweil somehow explains the minute financial details of Cesar’s “career” in a clear and mesmerizing way, transfixing the reader to find out how far the author is willing to go in his search, encouraged by his own young son. Incredible yet completely believable, this real-life mystery may provide insight into the bullying many of its readers likely endured. -Schlow Library