Book Thoughts: Reality Boy

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Ever wonder what happens to reality stars once their fifteen minutes of fame are over?
Think reality TV has actual reality in it?

Well, Gerald (The Crapper) Faust is here to answer your burning questions.

Life isn’t so great for Gerald a.k.a The Crapper Faust. Not since his mother wrote a letter to Network Nanny pleading for her help to handle little five year old Gerald’s problem of well, you guessed it crapping everywhere.

Yes, apparently that is a thing you do when you can’t get your mother’s attention because it’s all consumed by your psychopath of a sister.

In came the cameras documenting every one of Gerald’s misbehaving steps for the world to see. Except not everything went down the way we saw it on TV.

Now twelve years later, Gerald deals with the anger that started when the cameras entered his home, and stayed even after they left. He deals with his anger by keeping himself busy and dreaming. Dreaming of the day when he can finally leave his unstable home and be far away from his psychopath sister Tasha, and where the past isn’t always there to dictate his future.

A.S. King’s usual brand of magical realism is weaved into the story as Gerald’s daydreams. When things get too tough for him, he heads over to Gersday where he completely blanks out on whoever is talking-no matter how important whatever they’re saying is- and eats ice cream, and has conversations with his other sister Lisi. Sometimes Snow White and Cinderella get it on the fun. It’s a grand time.

Not the type of daydream you would expect from a seventeen year old boy right? The thing to rememberer is Gerald is really screwed up thanks to his childhood. His mind is still stuck on wanting to relive the perfect childhood, and there lies my issues with him.

I get that parents screw up their kids all the time, and Gerald’s mother is a special case of off the wall crazy. I don’t know what this lady is on, and what the hell kind of parenting class she took. My Mama wouldn’t have let me or my siblings get away with half the stuff this lady ignores. It’s all about her all the time. Then she wants to get help when her kid starts crapping everywhere? How about your kids getting help to deal with your mental ass? Gerald’s dad is a bit better, but not by much.

So I understand why Gerald is the way he is. I get being nostalgic for a life you never lived. However, I don’t believe dwelling on the past and checking out of your present is going to make your situation any better.
He does go through a growth in this book, and he finally reaches that conclusion which did make me sigh with relief. However, it was overshadowed by my annoyance with how his family issues were just sort of glossed over.

Gerald also happens to be very selfish. A trait he is well aware of and acknowledges, yet doesn’t do a whole lot to try to change. His girlfriend Hannah is also going through her issues, and she tried to talk to him about them and his response is always, “Well I’m the Crapper and it couldn’t possibly be worse than that.” This is basically his response to everyone else’s problems.
Dude.

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We all have our issues and yes, having yours televised sucks extra hard, but that doesn’t give you the right to discredit everyone else’s problems.

Reality Boy is obviously making a commentary on reality TV and the impact it has had on our society. Even if you don’t watch much TV it’s hard to escape certain personalities like Honey Boo Boo, The Jersey Shore kids, and The Kardashians etc. It makes me cringe to know what future generations, or aliens will think of us when they observe our “sources of entertainment.”
I don’t think many people are fooled anymore into thinking these shows are actually reality, yet we haven’t been able to stop watching them. Not being able to look away from train wreck I suppose.

The book itself is not as engaging as other A.S. King books. It did have some rare funny moments, and I enjoyed the solidarity between Gerald and the friends he makes. Although, for the most part the main characters were not likable. It was also bit slow in the middle. I normally love the way A.S. King uses magical realism in her writing see Everybody sees the Ants, but I didn’t care for it here.

Overall, not bad. It has some good moments, and great writing, but it didn’t quite hit it home for me.

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