Reality Boy - A. S. King

I have seen this around for a while, and was browsing our library website, and came across this. And boy and I glad I gave this one a try. It follows Gerald, who is now a teenager and an angry one at that. He grew up on TV, a reality show that followed him as a younger child. You would think you would see all of his cute little things he might have done as a little kid, but that is not what they showed on TV. It was the horrible tantrums, and the fact that he is still called the Crapper, even as a teenager, should give the idea of what else he did when things didn’t go his way. This was supposed to a chance for the “Nanny” to help him and his family. Sadly, this wasn’t the case.

Gerald was a broken young man. I don’t know how else to describe him, and it broke my heart to watch all the things that he went through not only as a child but as a teenager. People are afraid of him, they don’t understand him, so they push him off on whoever they think will deal with them. No wonder why he is the way he is. As a parent, it wasn’t hard to find myself being attached to his character/voice and just hoping that he would find some happiness and escape the past. Hanna was about as broken as Gerald, and I liked her Gerald together, it wasn’t always smooth sailing, but that’s what made it enjoyable. It was realistic and sweet. There were quite a few side characters, and the art part they played in Gerald’s story was a great addition.

The plot is like a TV program called Super Nanny, that the Nanny comes and makes the kid behave and all is better, but I always wondered what happens behind the scenes. Like, what was really real and what was put in there to make it more interesting to viewers, and after the Nanny left the families. This answered a lot of those questions, and made glad that I don’t watch reality. This was a raw and gritty look into it all. Since I listened to the audio book, I got to experience his desperation and longing and at times it was hard to listen to. He carries a large amount of anger, and it rightfully so that he does. Gerald has learned most of coping mechanism as he has grown up, he’s had to deal with embarrassment of the episodes of his tantrums, and the fact that his family was massively dysfunctional and everyone saw it. There was a small romance, but luckily it was a sweet one, they both have baggage and I think they were each other needed. The ending was satisfying and I was happy with it, but at the same time it was still heart breaking.

Reality Boy is a gripping and brutally raw and emotional look into the world of one serious messed up family and the effects the reality show had on their family. And the hope of moving on, and learning to there is more to life. I would certainly recommend picking this one up, especially the audio book of it. The narrator was freakin awesome.

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