Overall Rating: 3.5/5
Quality of Prose: 4/5
Quality of Story: 3/5
Quality of Characters: 3.5/5
Ability to Make the Audience Think/Feel Differently: 2.5/5
How Long It Took Me to Finish: 1 day
A 1 Sentence Summary
Gerald Faust, nicknamed “The Crapper,” struggles to manage his anger and to come to terms with his screwed up family life and his childhood as a reality TV star on a fake nanny show.
My Favorite Quotes
“Isn’t that what fame is, anyway? Being slaves to little people?”
“Do you think they liked watching me suffer because it made them happy to see a little boy suffering? Do you think it’s because it took attention away from their own suffering?”
“I’ll be just another human on a planet full of humans, but better equipped because I have demands. For my family. For my life. For the world. For myself.”
What I Loved About It
Once again, A.S. King tells a very honest story in this novel and doesn’t shy away from the tough, disturbing, or just plain nasty aspects of life while telling it. (If you haven’t read my review of my favorite book of hers, Please Ignore Vera Dietz, it can be found here. Go read it. It’s an amazing book.) She has a very unique talent for making her audience cringe and cry and laugh all over the course of reading one small-ish book. While Reality Boy didn’t change me or move me the way Please Ignore Vera Dietz did, it’s still definitely a great book about the teenage experience.
King focuses in this novel on the dangers of reality television and what it’s like to have a psychopath as a member of your family, two things I’ve never really read about before. The romance between the protagonist, Gerald, and his love interest Hannah is extremely realistic and volatile (as most teen romances tend to be), and I enjoyed reading about it. I also thought that Gerald and Hannah’s journey to free themselves from their families and to make certain demands and to set goals for their own lives was an important journey to witness.
What My Students Could Learn From It
Though I don’t feel that there are many traditional lessons students could learn from reading this book (besides maybe not watching reality TV), it’s definitely a relatable book. The novel covers so many different things students can relate to–like bullying, reputation, family troubles, abuse, first love, feeling like you don’t belong, anger management, carving your own path for yourself and your future, etc. A.S. King explores all of these things with honesty and grace, and tells a very moving story about a young man choosing to take action to make his life and future better. My students could certainly benefit from seeing as many stories about teens successfully doing that as possible.