Fix by Force is a story of seventeen year old Spencer who bullied by classmates, neglected by his mother, and haunted by the death of his father. After his expulsion from his high school, he is forced to attend an alternative high school where he tries to fix himself through abusing steroids. He learns how our choices affect not only us, but the people around us.
This story was difficult to read. Warne does an excellent job of describing the reality of high school life for many students who are bullied or singled out for being different or vulnerable. He adds an interesting dimension by clearly defining the reasons behind the bullying, making the bully a sympathetic character. The scenes of bullying are disturbing and the lack of intervention by teachers is frustrating, but probably realistic.
Equally as disturbing is Spencer’s relationship with his mother. She is at best neglectful and at worse as abusive as the bully. It made me think about what real life is like for some students when they leave school.
I had never read a fictionalized account of steroid use in teens before and I think Warne did an interesting take on motivation behind teen steroid use. Spencer doesn’t choose steroids to become a better athlete, but to gain respect. The description of him looking in the mirror and hating what he sees is painful to read.
Overall, I think this is an excellent book. I would recommend it to teachers, students, parents, and school administrators.
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