Virtually everyone can relate to those feelings, but her pain and anger exceed a teenager's typical insecurity. One can sense her rage, even now, when she describes undergoing psychotherapy: "It seems that if you are mean or cruel to another kid, that was 'okay' because it was just a normal part of growing up. If you are on the receiving end and allow it to bother you, you were the one who needs help. What kind of logic was that?" (p. 87)
Once Blanco graduated from high school, she experienced success in college and later established her own public relations firm. After deciding to go public with her story, she started a program, It's NOT Just Joking Around, which involves speaking at schools throughout the country and leading seminars for students, teachers, and parents; even what she terms "Adult Survivors of Peer Abuse" attend these sessions, often telling their own stories.
Perhaps the most controversial points in the book occur at the beginning and end, where she describes how she attended her high school reunion. Her former tormentors suddenly become good friends, although she offers few details as to how this suddenly happened. She recommends "facing your fears" by attending such events, although it is doubtful that this advice would benefit all readers. Can former victims really become friends with someone who once relentlessly verbally and physically assaulted them? Blanco neglects to answer this question.
Please Stop Laughing at Me should be read by various groups — students in grades seven through twelve (certain scenes concerning sex, violence, and drugs may not be appropriate for younger audiences) will learn about how seemingly harmless "teasing" can damage someone for life. Bullying victims will relate to Blanco's experiences and perhaps feel comforted by her pronouncement that "we'll graduate soon and the wounds we've sustained at the hands of our classmates will eventually heal and become scars" (p. 212). Parents will not only gain insight into how their bullied children feel, they will learn to spot signs of abuse in their children and to deal effectively with the situation. The book also offers an opportunity for parents and their children to discuss bullying and for parents to teach their children not to victimize others.