Bullies: A Friendship

Holt. Mar. 2016. 256p. ISBN 9780805094282. $26; ebk. ISBN 9781429949064. MEMOIR
In some aspects a 21st-century successor to Hunter S. Thompson's Hell's Angels, this debut memoir by journalist Abramovich provides readers with a wonderful and compact history of Oakland. On a whim, the author gets in touch with a classmate who used to bully him in elementary school. It turns out that his tormentor, Trevor, is now president of an Oakland-based motorcycle club called the East Bay Rats. Through Trevor, Abramovich gets to know members of the club and begins to investigate a city where he will eventually live. An unanswered question in the book is whether Trevor was really the bully Abramovich remembers him as being, or if Abramovich was himself the oppressor. Or, were the boys simply mean to each other? This question is raised early but never returned to, nor answered, and this leaves a (perhaps deliberate) sense of dissatisfaction long after the last page has been read.
VERDICT This essential memoir, which could have been twice as long and remained as fascinating, is recommended for general readers.

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