Wrestling with Bullies by Thibault Busschots

September 24, 2021

Written by an author from Belgium, this novella demonstrates that some elements of being a teenager and loving pro wrestling are universal.

The plot is relatively straightforward for what is intended to be the first of a lengthy series. A bullied teenager discovers pro wrestling and begins training while fighting back against his bullies. In this world, wrestling is a worked sport and provides him with confidence rather than legitimate fighting techniques.

The writing style and language are crisp and clear (though many readers will be encountering the phrase “lick a pig!” for the first time.) Between the content and the style, it’s likely to most appeal to younger readers. Adults may find it a little brief and predictable, hence its billing as a novella.

Though set in Belgium, the wrestling content will likely be familiar to fans of small-scale grappling around the world. Some elements particularly ring true, including the excitement of discovering the appeal of wrestling for the first time, and the descriptions of working matches that are considerably less choreographed than the average viewer may realise.

As noted, it may be too much of a young adult novel for some people’s tastes, but it’s worth checking out the free sample on Kindle, which gives a good feel of the book as a whole.

(Wrestling With Bullies will be published on 3 January 2022. The author provided a review copy.)

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