Reality Boy by A.S. King

Reality BoyReality Boy by A.S. King
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Let me introduce you to Gerald Faust. He is now 17 years old, works at a concession stand, sees an anger management counselor, has no friends and why? When Gerald was five, his family was part of a reality tv series and Gerald would poop (on the table, in shoes, etc) when he became really angry. As you read Gerald's story you find out why Gerald was expressing his rage in this very bizarre way. No one in his family, or on the show, or even the Nanny who was supposed to help them become a functional family tried to save Gerald and his other sister, Lisi, from their psychopathic older sister, Tasha. She tried to drown them, kicked them, punched them, strangled them, all while she called them gay and many other horrible names. Now his older sister has dropped out of college, is living at home and still being very inappropriate. As a result, Lisi, has flown the coop for college as Gerald feels so abandoned. His mother firmly sticks up for his oldest sister, and made sure Gerald was placed in special ed classes at school (Gerald has normal intelligence, but feels safe in spec ed classes). His father seems to be at work all the time and doesn't do anything when psycho sister, Tasha acts up. This book was difficult to read; you will see what I mean, but you root for Gerald and his search for love, happiness and acceptance. I couldn't put it down; I loved when he becomes friends with the girl at Register 1, talks to Snow White and goes to Gersday (have to read the book) in order to deal (insulate himself from his anger and fears). Gerald really believes he will never go to college, or hold a job; that he will end up in prison. I was so angry at the adults in this book and their disregard for a little boy who grows into an insecure, angry teen with little self worth. The only adults I liked were Beth, his boss, and the hockey lady who sticks up for Gerald and gives him big hugs. Until Hannah (girl at Regiser #1), no one has hugged Gerald, no one. A.S. King's book is a study in total family dysfunction, the harm of reality tv shows, and escapism in all its many facets.

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