I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Reality Boy by A.S. King
Also by this author: Glory O'Brien's History of the Future
Published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers on October 22nd 2013
Genres: Boys & Men, Bullying, Family, Love & Romance, Siblings, Social Issues, Violence, Young Adult
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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
One thing that I really love about A.S. King’s books are that they make me think. They go to dark places sometimes and really force you to look beyond the surface and examine the deeper themes. On it’s surface, Reality Boy seems like the kind of book I would hate, given how much of the book is dedicated to talking about how the main character, Gerald, literally shits on things on TV while he’s six years old. I don’t know,that type of thing grosses me out and I probably would have DNFed right then and there if it was not AS King writing the book, if I did not know that eventually there would be payoff and that this book would really make me think.
Reality Boy is a first person perspective book about Gerald, a teenager who was on two episodes of a nanny reality show when he was six. He rose to fame when he crapped on different things out of anger. Unfortunately, he has yet to live that fame down and has the nickname of The Crapper. His family life is a complete mess. Gerald is in special education classes even though he can definitely handle mainstream classes. He works at the local arena center at the concession stand where there’s a girl that he really, really is into. What Reality Boy is ultimately about is Gerald learning to be present, in the moment, and confront why his family life is so terrible.
Gerald’s got some major anger and violence issues. I don’t find his issues excusable, yet when you place them in context they make sense. You see, his sister Tasha is completely awful and has tried to hurt him many, many times. Yet, his mother ignores it and refuses to acknowledge Tasha’s issues, blaming everything on Gerald instead. So, Gerald does this thing where he reverts to his imagination and daydreams that he’s in a place and time called Gersday where everything is peaceful and Tasha and his mother are not welcome. Unfortunately, though, Gerald spends way too much time in his head and finds it hard to be present and real in the moment.
So, there is a romance in this book and I wasn’t into that very much except for how it shows how two people can help heal each other. It shows how being vulnerable makes someone stronger in the end and how it’s okay to open yourself up to other people. I don’t think the romance detracts from the book, but I just wasn’t like OMG SHIP IT. No. Not at all. I think really, the best thing about Reality Boy is the exploration of Gerald’s anger issues and how he really learns to control himself and overcome a terrible hand in life. It’s like Gerald undergoes some empathy building and well, that character development really appealed to me.
I would say that if you haven’t read anything by AS King, this might not be the book to start with, however if you are a diehard fan and are patient enough to get past all the bits about Gerald’s bodily functions, pick up Reality Boy.