Bertha Fights Back – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat
‘Walking into my homeroom class, I realized that something was definitely going on and I was beginning to think that I might not want to know what it was. One of the boys, Dan, looked at me and then at his cell phone and burst out laughing and almost fell off of his chair. Since the teacher was not there, which seemed odd, no one stopped what was going to happen next.’
‘As I was just about to sit down, I turned around and saw that all of the kids in the class were using the internet on their phones. Some were sharing the information they found with other kids. Some were on Facebook, My Space or YouTube. Others were looking at pictures sent from one phone to the next. Everyone was staring at me.’
Someone had posted pictures of Bertha in the girl’s bathroom changing into her gym uniform on Facebook, My Space and YouTube. Other pictures showed her throwing spitballs and wads of toilet paper all over the walls and floor of the girl’s bathroom. On the door someone had written “Bertha Rules.” Not a very nice thing to do to a 13 year old who has always been overweight, not very good in sports nor dancing and has definitely never been very popular with kids her own age. But she is smart and always makes her parents proud with her grades.
In Bertha Fights Back, Bertha decides to find out who put these pictures out there in cyberspace and to get her revenge. No more nice girl Bertha. But revenge doesn’t come without a price. Bertha decides to join a gang but finds out that being a gang member gets her into more trouble than she expected and trouble comes with a price. In Bertha’s case, community service.
When the school band room is broken into, Bertha is called upon by her principal to do a little detective work. She and a group of other students start looking into the destruction and theft of the musical instruments. Along the way the group encounters students who are upset about foreign students attending their school to the point of not only writing graffiti on the walls but also physically harm some of the students.
Bertha Fights Back brings to life what all young people need to be taught. One of the lessons Bertha learns through her experiences is that being a gang member is not the answer. She also learns that being a Bully is not the answer. I thoroughly enjoyed reading as Bertha grew up and took on the responsibility for the things she did whether they were right or wrong. To me, this is a good book for both young people as well as adults to read.