Ms. Ila’s Middle Grade Reading Club: The Anti-Book by Raphael Simon

Mickey seems to be a normal kid who wants everyone to leave him alone when I first started reading The Anti-Book by Raphael Simon.  Raphael Simon is also the author known as Pseudonymous Bosch, who wrote the Secret and Bad series.

The Anti-Book is an adventure-fantasy book because Mickey goes through an adventure with unrealistic elements like flying houses and fighting cacti.

Like many people these days, Mickey is filled with a deep-abiding anger, that simmers just under the surface.  Mickey's Dad recognizes Mickey's anger, but is unable to connect Mickey to the realization that his unresolved anger about his parents' divorce is having a negative impact on his relationships.

In the Author's Note at the end of the book, Mr. Simon talks about how the Pandemic has had a very negative impact on a lot of people, including the increase of negative feelings like anger.

Have you ever been so angry that you didn't know how to act or think?  Don't worry, many adults also have this problem, too!

Anger, like all of our emotions, is an important part of us and should not be ignored nor squelched.

Mickey is Angry

Anger, according to the American Psychological Association (APA),

"can be a good thing. It can give you a way to express negative feelings, for example, or motivate you to find solutions to problems.

But excessive anger can cause problems. Increased blood pressure and other physical changes associated with anger make it difficult to think straight and harm your physical and mental health."

The APA notes that there are 3 ways that people deal with angry feelings:

  • Expressing your anger in a respectful way (best way)
  • Suppressing anger (worst way, as it creates other problems)
  • Calm down inside

Interestingly, anger is an emotion that we may not be aware of, because of cultural stigmatization.  In Mickey's case, his parents' divorce causes Mickey to experience anger, but to suppress it.

As the APA says, suppressing anger creates other problems, like it does for Mickey.

Divorce is an Adult Problem That Affects Kids

First of all, what is divorce?

Divorce is the dissolving of a marriage.  You might experience it also, if your parents separate, if they are not married.

The California Court system has resources that you can check out to help you when your parents are getting divorced:

Questions to Consider

  • Have you ever wanted an Anti-Book?  After reading The Anti-Book, do you think it is still a good idea?
  • Have you ever been so angry like Mickey?  What were you angry about?
  • When you are angry, what do you do: express, suppress, or calm?
  • Noodle the dog makes an appearance.  What do you think Noodle represents in this book?
  • Do you have a Shadow like Mickey?  What can you do about your shadow?
  • Will you try to express anger next time in a respectful way?

Let me know if you have any questions in the comments below.

Next month, we will read an eBook on Hoopla called A Many Feathered Thing by Lisa Gerlits.