Wednesday, November 20, 2013
Review: Reality Boy by A.S. King
Author: A.S. King
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary Fiction
Setting Location: Pennsylvania, United States ; Washington DC, United States ; North Carolina, United States ; South Carolina, United States ; Georgia, United States ; Florida, United States
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Format: Kindle Edition
Release Date: October 22, 2013
Tagline(s): He's not the boy you saw on TV.
You think you know everything about me. You. Know. Nothing.
Summary: Gerald Faust started feeling angry even before his mother invited a reality TV crew into his five-year-old life. Twelve years later, he's still haunted by his rage-filled youth - which the entire world got to watch from every imaginable angle - and his anger issues have resulted in violent outbursts, zero friends, and clueless adults dumping him in the special education room at school. No one cares that Gerald has tried to learn to control himself; they're all just waiting for him to snap. And he's starting to feel dangerously close to doing just that.
In this fearless portrayal of a boy on the edge, highly acclaimed Printz Honor author A.S. King explores the desperate reality of a former child "star" who struggles to break free of his anger by creating possibilities he never knew he deserved.
Gerald Faust was an angry kid way before his mother called Network Nanny to come to their house. But it hit a whole new level when the TV crews began invading their house. To show hi anger he used to punch holes in the walls, but after the TV show came, he began crapping on tables, in shoes, pretty much anywhere but the toilet. This earned him the nickname "The Crapper" and it has followed him to now, twelve years later. No one realized that he was trying to bring to their attention a very serious and life-threatening problem in their home, and it is still very much present now. And Gerald is still angry.
Gerald is a character that seems to have lost all hope of a future after Network Nanny ruined his life. He's been in anger management classes and been put into the special education class at school. The anger management he needed, but the special education he did not. People think that they know Gerald, but they do not. And when you learn the reasons behind his behavior as a small child, your heart really goes out to him. It isn't until Gerald meets Hannah that he begins to realize that he can make his own future, one where he can succeed. Network Nanny was one turning point in Gerald's life and meeting Hannah was another. One turning point was for the worse, and the other was for the better.
Reality Boy shows us the negative effects fame can have on children, or in Gerald's case "infamy." Even when the people involved in the show (particularly the fake nanny) realized that something wasn't quite right in that house, they did nothing to help the situation. They only cared about the ratings for their show and not how it affected those they were exploiting. Whether Reality Boy is an accurate depiction of the effects showbiz has on children or not, for this story it is not something I would ever want to involve my children in if I had any.
I really liked how the story went from Gerald's life now, to scenes of the Network Nanny show when he was five years old. We get a really good look into what was happening during that time to make Gerald the way he is now. There were some pretty entertaining moments, and seeing Gerald finally take a stand after so long was a great thing to witness. And that he was able to find love in the process made it all better. Gerald's not angry anymore.
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