Monday, March 24, 2014

Reality Boy

Reality Boy by A.S. King
Publication Date: October 22, 2013
Publisher: Little, Brown Books
Pages: 336
Keywords: television, therapy, family
Format Read: eARC via NetGalley (thank you!)
Get It: Book Depository
Gerald Faust knows exactly when he started feeling angry: the day his mother invited a reality TV crew into his five-year-old life. Twelve years later, he is still haunted by his rage-filled youth--which the entire world got to watch from every imaginable angle--and his anger issues have resulted in violent outbursts, zero friends, and clueless adults dumping him in the special education room at school. No one cares that Gerald has tried to learn to control himself; they're all just waiting for him to snap. And he's starting to feel dangerously close to doing just that...until he chooses to create possibilities for himself he never knew he deserved.
This was my first experience with an A.S. King book, and I had heard they were all pretty amazing. So far, my findings are correct. This one was good, y'all.

Characters that aren't perfect are the most interesting to read about. And it's interesting because I feel like so many books feature protagonists with ideal characteristics, or redeeming qualities that are really good, and nothing ever too terrible that makes you question what's happening or what's going on. But it's so much more real when the characters are real, and that's what struck me most about this book.

Gerald is just a guy struggling with his childhood and a family that doesn't know how to deal with its problems upfront. The story is told in first person, so we are inside Gerald's head, and sometimes his thinking didn't always make sense to me, but I was always rooting for him, even when I definitely did not agree with his actions. That's a sign you've got a strong writer that stands out from the rest — difficult characters that people root for anyway. Every person in the book is flawed in a huge way, and I loved that each person had to deal with it or not deal with it. Some did and some didn't. Because that's the way life works.

This was a stunning work that dealt a lot with psychological aftermath of what the media does to a family and to individuals, as well as an exploration of family struggles when members are unstable. The prose was beautiful, and Gerald's thoughts were spot on and human, and I loved pretty much every page of this book.

And the cover is amazing. Use of color — OUTSTANDING.

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