Genre: Young Adult, Depression, Coming of Age, Romance, Bullying.
“She says ‘Remember like playing house when we were little?’ I never played house when I was little. Unless you count playing people in your house want to drown you.”
12 years ago, Gerald Faust of age 5, had to put up with cameras and strangers all over his house for live streaming on television. Network Nanny expected to change this little boy’s behavior, because he was such an aggressive 5 year old; punching walls and crapping on things all the time. Gerald was such a savage kid and he needed to be fixed in front of thousands of amused viewers, an unloving mother that only has eyes for her psychopathic first born and a fake nanny who was really an actress that couldn’t have cared less.
So it’s no surprise he developed issues.
This story was riveting. Seeing society through the perspective of a dysfunctional teenage boy who’s trying not to follow the negative expectations from the people he used to amuse.
The side of the family that was shown to the viewers wasn’t even remotely close to what was really happening. The actions of this aggressive boy were never analyzed and nobody thought that he might have been suffering and in need of attention.
It was easier to put him in a SPED class and never talk about it again.
Expectations play a big role in this book as it does in real life.
Someone that from a very young age is expected to end up in jail or to not go to college can actually end up as people have predicted, because that’s all that has been expected from them. They don’t realize their potential, because they haven’t heard otherwise.
The Faust family is a very dysfunctional one and is the main reason Gerald has anger issues. It’s disturbing reading about the things they did and didn’t do to him. It was cringe worthy every time his older sister got away with bullying him, even if she was doing it right in front of their parents. On the other hand, these kind of situations do happen, when one blind parent lets their kid get away with stuff because they are afraid they wont love them anymore.
That being said the mother was just a shitty parent and the father was too oblivious to realize that.
Also, society is very hard on Gerald, because everywhere he goes people still recognize him, call him names and try to push him over the edge. However, he has developed a technique that helps him ignore reality and just be happy for a few minutes. But is not a real escape and he needs to start confronting that reality.
I recommend this book if you are interested in contemporary stories that deal with emotional problems and dysfunctional protagonists. Also, if you are a fan of A.S. King.