The Whipping Boy Essays

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A few years after his father’s death, a young Kurzweil arrived in Switzerland to attend a pseudo-military boarding school.

As the smallest and youngest student in the school, he was a clear target at Aiglon, a place with impossible rules and a high affinity for rankings.

As a grown man, Kurzweil is able to see the similarities he never would have thought he and Cesar had.

“ is an examination of obsession, a testament to how a childhood grudge can take on a life of its own, and a study in forgiveness.

Though he falls in love, gets married, has a child, and creates a successful career as a writer, he can’t shake memories of Cesar.

And as he starts to dig into Cesar’s past, using some well-placed connections and the new-at-the-time search Google, he finds out what any tortured kid would love to hear about their childhood bully—Cesar is a convicted criminal.Cesar was twelve to Allen’s ten, larger in both physicality and personality.He bullied Allen inventively, force-feeding him hot sauce-soaked bread and flogging him in synchronized tune to Jesus Christ Superstar.A Second World War fighter pilot—shrapnel lodged in his shoulder, Bible quotes lodged in his brain—served as the interim headmaster while Aiglon’s founder, a frail vegetarian bachelor drawn to Eastern religions, undertook a rest cure.A wildly favorable exchange rate made it possible for my mother, recently widowed, to send me to a school far beyond her means.Kurzweil is an engaging narrator that elevates what could turn into a true crime story into a study on humanity.The actual investigation drags on a little long in the book—I wanted to hear less about paper trails and more about people—but maybe because it dragged on too long in real life, as well.Harper Collins, January 2015 309 Pages – Harper Collins / Amazon Who hasn’t fantasized about running into your childhood nemesis again, when you have grown into your own, and he hasn’t?In Allen Kurzweil’s , he goes further than fantasy—he is determined to find his childhood oppressor and see exactly how his life turned out.My dormitory housed a Bahraini royal, the heir to a washing-machine fortune, and an Italian aristocrat whose family tree included a saint, a Pope, and several princes.To neutralize the income inequality of its charges, the school prohibited parents from sending their sons and daughters spending money.

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