Reality Boy by A.S. King Review
“But what’s crazy and what’s sane when everything is possible and yet nothing ever happens?”
Gerald Faust is a sixteen, almost seventeen- year old boy who has always appeared to feel angry. However, Gerald knows the truth. He knows exactly when he started feeling angry: when his mother decided to invite a television crew into his five year old life, and make a reality TV show out of it.
A decade later, Gerald is still haunted by his past. He still remains as a young boy, trapped in a situation he can’t control. His anger issues have resulted in a countless amount of violent outbursts, no friends (therefore no one he could count on), and adults who are too shallow to realize the truth (thus dumping him into the SPED- special education- room at school).
Living what seems like a monotonous routine- wake up, go to school, go to work, come back home, sleep- Gerald feels like nothing will ever change, and that no one seems to ever care about him. No one seems to realize that there’s a reason for Gerald’s anger: that his older sister, Tasha, is dangerous. Instead, everyone around him is just waiting for the day that Gerald Faust “snaps”, never realizing just how much Gerald has in fact learned to control himself.
Soon enough, Gerald realizes there may be others like him that are messed up, but just haven’t had their entire lives broadcasted on Reality TV from 40 different angles.
In this gut-wrenching story about a boy who appears to be living his life on the edge, A.S King examines how a past “TV star” overcomes his anger, creating a future for himself that he never knew could exist.
After reading this, I can definitely say that this novel needs more recognition. It definitely changed my opinion of Reality TV shows, and made me truly empathize for all those people on all of those shows. (After all, we as viewers merely take in the spectacle of the show, thoroughly enjoying it, but do we ever pause for a moment to reflect on the psychological toll that they can take on a child?)
I especially liked how the story was told in two perspectives, from the past and present Gerald. This is because we can see how far Gerald has come, while also seeing what happened within Gerald’s childhood that has caused him to become so mentally defeated.
Overall, the concept of this novel is simply brilliant, and was incredibly well-written. At times, this story can be extremely heart-breaking and disturbing, but also manages to offer a glimpse of hope for our future Gerald.
Final Rating: 5 out of 5 stars