Winner of the 2012 PEN New England Discovery Award!
There’s nothing real about reality TV.
Seventeen-year-old Bonnie™ Baker has grown up on TV—she and her twelve siblings are the stars of one-time hit reality show Baker’s Dozen. Since the show’s cancellation and the scandal surrounding it, Bonnie™ has tried to live a normal life, under the radar and out of the spotlight. But it’s about to fall apart…because Baker’s Dozen is going back on the air. Bonnie™’s mom and the show’s producers won’t let her quit and soon the life she has so carefully built for herself, with real friends (and maybe even a real boyfriend), is in danger of being destroyed by the show. Bonnie™ needs to do something drastic if her life is ever going to be her own—even if it means being more exposed than ever before.
I’ve read this book quite some time ago, but the reason I did not post this review sooner was not because I was too busy, but because I had my doubts. It took me a long time to decide if I should even read the book because the subject is not one that interests me. You see, I stayed away from reality TV all my life, I’ve seen a few scenes here and there from various shows when I was changing the TV channels, but that’s it. I could not handle more as I found the whole thing quite disgusting. I apologise for the words I just used, but I could not find better ones to express my sentiments.
I can understand many things, I am trying not to judge people based on their choices and lifestyles, but getting involved in a reality show is not something I can understand. We already live with a false sense of security when it comes to privacy in this digitalised world so willingly exposing every aspect of you life, no matter how intimate, is something that I cannot nor will ever be able to understand.
This book tackles the topic of reality TV with all that it implies. It shows exactly what that lifestyle involves and what it does to the people involved. All aspects are considered, even the press. This book is beautifully written and shows the raw, crude reality of those suffering the consequences of their choices or in some cases the consequences of other people choices.
Chloe is a young girl who was basically born into this world. She did not choose to be part of it, the choice was made for her by her family. Throughout this book we see her desperation of trying to get out of this world, to have a life of her own, to be free and in a way she succeeds at least for a while with the aid of Patrick. This book, in comparison to many others, pays special attention to each and every character, it does not only focus on one. We learn so many things about each of them, through their interactions with others or otherwise, but for some strange reason this does not apply to Patrick. I felt like he was not described in depth like the other characters, but in a way I guess it makes sense. He was an outsider.
I guess there is no reason to mention that nothing about reality TV is true. Reality TV is is about everything that is fake. All I’ve read in this book makes we have an even worse opinion of what it implies. How can someone pretend to be a perfect mother on TV, but is so horrible in real life? I tend to think that each mother does what she can for her children even if we do not agree with her choices, she does what she does because she cares and she does not know how to do anything else, but in this case I am not sure that she cares…
This book is also meant as a wake up call for all the fans. I’ve never been overly enthusiastic (let’s say) when it comes to anything (maybe expect technology, but not even then, I never waited 6 days in front of a store to get my hands on something new), especially not when it comes to actors or celebrities in general. I understand that some people are, that’s fine, but they should also consider that the people they admire so much are real, they have their own lives and the impact their admiration has on their life is grand. They cannot live a normal life, like the rest of us, because someone keeps following them and wanting their autographs or pictures. I heard os many times that thats what they get if they wanted to be famous, but I don;t believe that. They wanted to do a job like any other, but sadly it also comes with a huge price tag. Think about it!
Overall this is an amazing book that every 21st century person should read. Despite it not being my favourite genre, this book is truly worth reading, I was able to enjoy it and take something from it.
From me: 4.5/5