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Mirkat Always Reading

I'm always reading something, usually multiple books at a time.

Currently reading

The Undoing Project: A Friendship that Changed Our Minds
Michael Lewis, Dennis Boutsikaris
The Joy of Leaving Your Sh*t All Over the Place: The Art of Being Messy
Jennifer McCartney

Reality Boy

Reality Boy - A.S. King

Remember shows like Super Nanny and Nanny 911?  If you ever watched either of them and wondered how the kids featured on the show might have turned out, Reality Boy offers one possible answer.  Gerald Faust, 16 years old when the narrative starts, and turning 17 along the way, was five years old when a letter from his mother prompted the producers of a show called Network Nanny to choose his family to be "fixed" on TV.  Gerald was an angry child who punched walls. The source of his anger was oldest sister Tasha (age 11), who terrorized Gerald and their sister Lisi (age seven).  Gerald's anger only gets worse as "Fake Nanny" (a telegenic actress who is the on-camera nanny taking cues from the off-camera "Real Nanny") fails to ferret out Tasha's behavior, only made worse by their mother's enabling and favoritism toward Tasha.  Young Gerald moved from punching walls to defecating in inappropriate
places, such as the kitchen table, Tasha's bed, and his mother's shoes.

Viewers of the show dubbed him "the Crapper," and there are people who have never let the name drop.  Tasha is now a college drop-out who moved into the family basement, where she loudly has sex with her boyfriend at all hours.  Lisi has fled to a university in Glasgow, from which she never calls or writes.  Gerald meanwhile attends anger-management coaching, works in a concession stand at a stadium, retreats in his head to a happy place he calls "Gersday," and works out at a boxing gym.  Since middle school, he has attended special-education classes ("SPED" for short), since his mother insisted that there must be something wrong with him.

Gerald has been led to believe that his most likely future involves jail, and his main focus has been keeping his head down and avoiding that fate.  Then a couple of things occur that cause a shift.  A hockey fan at the stadium remembers him from the show and expresses sympathy.  A girl he works with--the one girl he has a crush on--might be interested in him, too.

This book was a very fast read for me, and I really enjoyed the narrative voice.  The narration is in first-person present tense, which isn't easy to write well.  A. S. King nails it, though.  I really found myself liking Gerald and wanting him to find a way out of the dysfunction of his family.

Note:  I received this as an advance ebook from NetGalley.