Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

Reality Boy

King, A.S. (Author)
Little, Brown 2014. 362 pages
First published: 2013
ISBN: 9780316222716 (paperback)
9780316222693 (e-book)
Original language: English
Book type: Novel
Book genre: Realistic

Text Elements:

characterization, conflict, point of view

Reading Range

 
Cycle
Elementary
Secondary
 
1
2
3
1
2
ELA
K
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5

Description:

It’s as if Gerald is sentenced to play a role to suit other people’s needs. Labelled “retarded” by his mother and “The Crapper” by a TV-viewing public, Gerald knows what it means to be unfairly judged.

Gerald’s present-day struggle for self-determination is peppered with childhood memories (on- and off-camera) that are relayed in a teen voice, while accommodating a childlike perspective. “Episode three wasn’t a full episode. It was one of those let’s-look-back-on-our-past-families-and-see-how-well-we-did episodes.”

Scenes of Gerald’s anger-management therapy, Mom’s propagation of a family lie and the TV show’s edits all highlight the debilitating effect of truth manipulation. No wonder Gerald is angry: “We find a random guy to lace us up and I fly into the ring.… There is blood inside of a minute—no idea whose blood, but who cares.… Blood is the point.”

This is a compelling portrait of an ostracized and explosive youth’s efforts to hold himself in—even as he yearns to reach out. Throughout the book, evidence of kindness, trust and love help Gerald do exactly that. “I’ll be just another human on a planet full of humans, but better equipped.… For my family. For my life. For the world. For myself.”

  •  The story relies on flashback scenes of Gerald’s tumultuous childhood as a reality television star that provide context for his present circumstances. Taken together, the scenes from the past provide a rich backstory narrative.
  •  

    A school counsellor tells Gerald that “fame has its downside.” Discuss the impact of unwanted fame on celebrities and other public figures. How does being in the public eye affect the way a young person comes to see himself or herself?

  •  

    Initiate an inquiry and use the research process to look into an issue or question of personal or social significance stemming from the novel such as family issues, the price of fame, being true to oneself, etc. 

  • To construct his/her identity
  • To cooperate with others
  • Health and Well-Being