Download Whipping Boy: The Forty-Year Search for My Twelve-Year-Old Bully Audiobook

Whipping Boy: The Forty-Year Search for My Twelve-Year-Old Bully Audiobook, by Allen Kurzweil Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Allen Kurzweil Narrator: Allen Kurzweil Publisher: HarperAudio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: January 2015 ISBN: 9780062308573
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Winner of the Edgar® Award for Best Fact Crime

The true account of one boy’s lifelong search for his boarding-school bully.

Equal parts childhood memoir and literary thriller, Whipping Boy chronicles prize-winning author Allen Kurzweil’s search for his twelve-year-old nemesis, a bully named Cesar Augustus. The obsessive inquiry, which spans some forty years, takes Kurzweil all over the world, from a Swiss boarding school (where he endures horrifying cruelty) to the slums of Manila, from the Park Avenue boardroom of the world’s largest law firm to a federal prison camp in Southern California.

While hunting down his tormentor, Kurzweil encounters an improbable cast of characters that includes an elocution teacher with ill-fitting dentures, a gang of faux royal swindlers, a crime investigator “with paper in his blood,” and a  onocled grand master of the Knights of Malta. Yet for all its global exoticism and comic exuberance, Kurzweil’s riveting account is, at its core, a heartfelt and suspenseful narrative about the “parallel lives” of a victim and his abuser.

A scrupulously researched work of nonfiction that renders a childhood menace into an unlikely muse, Whipping Boy is much more than a tale of karmic retribution; it is a poignant meditation on loss, memory, and mourning, a surreal odyssey born out of suffering, nourished by rancor, tempered by wit, and resolved, unexpectedly, in a breathtaking act of personal courage.

Whipping Boy features two 8-page black-and-white photo inserts and  83 images throughout.

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Quotes & Awards

  • Whipping Boy is like nothing I’ve ever read, an investigative memoir that’s honest, funny, sad, and edge-of-the-chair suspenseful. I loved it.”

    Dan Okrent, New York Times bestselling author

  • “What makes the book such a delight is less what Kurzweil uncovers that than the self-conscious absurdity he acknowledges in his search. Social media eventually reunites Kurzweil with his tormentor, and the inevitable confrontation, like the story, is both confounding and deeply satisfying.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “A fascinating, multi-pronged morality tale about victimhood, skewed perception, and the liberation of facing your demons.”

    Washington Post

  • “A captivating hybrid of investigative journalism and memoir…Kurzweil is not simply settling a private score; he’s standing up for anyone who has ever been bullied.”

    Chicago Tribune

  • “Kurzweil does the delightfully unexpected: He morphs his story from a poignant memoir into a true-crime thriller.”


  • “A memoir that reads like a thriller.”

    Tampa Bay Times

  • “[Kurzweil’s] account of the pursuit reads like a literary thriller—it’s intriguing, relentless and sure to hold special fascination for anyone with memories of his or her own childhood bully.”


  • “Novelist Kurzweil was bullied by a roommate named Cesar Augustus at a tiny Swiss boarding school—being whipped with a belt is the worst outrage—and later in life set out to learn what had become of his tormentor…Kurzweil crafts an entertaining, sharply reported picaresque…A comic-opera true-crime saga that’s ripe with hilarious humbuggery.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Reads like an engrossing detective story. Kurzweil is, by his own admission, a man obsessed. His emotions take a backseat to describing his investigatory feats, which lead him to a wide-ranging, multimillion-dollar scam…The story will resonate with anyone who had a Cesar growing up, as so many did.”


  • “One man’s search for his childhood bully, who turned out to be far more than that…Full of intrigue and suspense, the story follows the bizarre twists and turns of one man’s journey to find and confront his childhood tormentor—ready-made for a film treatment.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • A BookPage Top Pick for February 2015
  • A Kirkus Reviews Pick for 11 Memoirs That Read Better Than a Novel
  • Winner of the 2016 Edgar Allan Poe Award for Best Fact Crime

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About the Author

Allen Kurzweil is the prizewinning author of two novels for adults—A Case of Curiosities and The Grand Complication—and two works of fiction for children—Leon and the Spitting Image and Leon and the Champion Chip. A recipient of numerous grants and awards, including fellowships from the Guggenheim and Fulbright Foundations and the New York Public Library Center for Scholars and Writers, Kurzweil is currently a fellow at the John Nicholas Brown Center for the Study of American Civilization at Brown University. He lives in Providence, Rhode Island, with his wife and son.