Elliot K. Carnucci is a Big Fat Loser
Published: Oct. 21, 2013
The kids at Ralph Bunche Middle School love to pick on Elliot Kravitz-Carnucci. He struggles with his weight, looks like a geek, makes top honors, and lives above the Carnucci Home for Funerals in South Philadelphia with his distant, workaholic father and Nonna, his quirky, overbearing grandmother.
Since his parents divorced, he splits spending his time with his funeral director father and his mother Rayna, who dreams of becoming the queen of commercials on the west coast.
At the hands of his peers, Elliot experiences a series of bullying episodes that escalate
Elliot has a small circle of loyal friends and a mentor named Duke, an aging school custodian, who root for him to overcome his bullying issues so that he can enjoy his life as a teenager and a budding singer/performer. Can Elliot win his fight against the nasty bullies, or is he doomed forever? Read this funny, sad, and crazy book to find out.
“Help–I can’t breathe–let me out. Somebody help...”
I pounded the inside of the musty supply closet until my knuckles turned blue. Did anybody even have the key?
What if they don’t come? What if I’m trapped here all night?
I could hear loud voices and laughing, so I knew Kyle Canfield and one of his friends from the basketball team were there, waiting to see if I would cave in and plead for mercy.
The bell blared. Classes changed. Kids stampeded through the halls. Then, silence.
Finally I heard someone shout, “I’ve got the key, Doc.”
“Thanks, Duke,” Doc Greely, the assistant principal, said to Mr. Boardly, the man who’d sprung me loose.
Mr. Boardly, the head custodian, better known as Duke, offered me his arm, and I stumbled out of the closet. He was as thin as his mop handle, but all muscle–no flab like me. A scruffy white beard covered half his face.
He slammed the closet door shut and bolted the lock. “One of the hall guards reported noise coming from this area. We came as soon as we heard.”
Duke patted my shoulder. “Let me know if I can help, Elliot.” I could hear his keys clanging as he walked down the hall humming “Duke of Earl,” that old sixties song he loved. That’s where he got his nickname.
“Up to their old tricks again, Elliot?” Doc asked on the way to his office.
Elliot K. Carnucci is one of those high school students that seem to have a sign pasted on their foreheads that says "Pick on me!" He's overweight, dresses differently than most of the other students, doesn't have one of the "popular" haircuts, is extremely smart, is non-athletic and has almost no friends. To top it off, Elliot lives with his dad who is a funeral director and their house is the local funeral home.
He's doing everything he can to stay below the radar and keep out of the bullies way. He's refuses to rat out on them because he knows that will make things worse. He's even done their homework. Nothing seems to work. They just get meaner and meaner.
Fortunately he does have an ally in the school janitor. Mr. or "Duke" as he's known to the students has reported the bullies several times to the administration several times. But the principal want to hear from Elliot.
Elliot K. Carnucci is a Big Fat Loser is an excellent book about youth being bullied and the extent to which it can get. This novel clearly demonstrates that "staying below the radar" does not work. It is important to stand up to the bullies. Everyone, whether they witness the act, or are bullied themselves, need to report the incident so that the bully realizes that they have no power.
I liked the advice that Duke gave Elliot. Reach out and make some friends. Kids that are loners are much more likely targets. This can be a really difficult thing for some students to do, particularly if they are having mental health issues like depression or if they are just really shy. School clubs that help get students to know others or anti-bullying groups could be a good way to get potential bully target students involved in groups where they could be safer.
I was surprised that Kyle was able to get away with as much bullying as he did before he got expelled. Things could have turned out much worse than they did.
I think the author did an excellent job of character development in this story. I felt very sad at the loss of Elliot's friend. I think he was a big loss to the school community as a whole.
The only negative comment I would make is that the author said the doctor told Elliot they would run some lab tests to see if he had a concussion. A concussion is generally diagnosed through a series of questions of the injured person.
I thought that this book was very entertaining and educational and would hold the attention of students in the middle grade range (grade 4-7). I would recommend it to schools and families who want to discuss bullying and what to do about it. I gave Elliot K. Carnucci is a Big Fat Loser a rating of 4 stars out of 5.
Thank you to the publisher who provided a copy of the book in exchange for a fair and honest review. A positive opinion was not required All thoughts are my own.
About the Author:
Catherine DePino has sold thirteen books for parents, teachers, and children to mainstream publishers. She self-published her fourteenth book, Elliot K. Carnucci is a Big, Fat Loser: A Book About Bullying because she wanted to give it a wider forum. Her background includes a BS in English and Spanish education, a Master’s in English education, and a doctorate in Curriculum Theory and Development and Educational Administration from Temple University. The author worked for many years as an English teacher, department head of English and world languages, disciplinarian, and curriculum writer in the Philadelphia School District. After this, she worked at Temple as an adjunct assistant professor and student teaching supervisor.
Catherine has also written articles for national magazines, including The Christian Science Monitor and The Writer.
For many years she served on the board of The Philadelphia Writers’ Conference. She holds membership in the Association of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.
Her new self-help book, 101 Easy Ways for Women to De-Stress, Reinvent, and Fire Up Your Life in Retirement,appeared on the market in March, 2014.
Other Books by This Author:
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