Usually i am not in favor of reading books twice, but Reality Boy was so interesting that I didn't even mind! Sometimes it's nice to go back through a book and identify details that either you forgot or did not notice the first time. As I was reading it the second time around, I hightlighted a few quotes that stood out to me. On page 39, after being hugged by Hockey Lady, Gerlad bursts into tears and ends the chapter by saying "I made a pact with myself to never let anyone hug me again." After reading this, I was confused. Gerald describes how he has always been criticized, analyzed and terrorized, but never hugged. Why would he make a pact to never let anyone hug him again, if someone is finally showing him affection? This is a question that I had to let sink in for a while. Honestly, I think that Gerald was neither accustomed to such affection, nor felt as though he was worthy of it. After all, he has never felt authentic love and affection from his family members. I wonder if Hockey Lady understood the magnitude of her actions toward Gerald. A simple hug is often overlooked and we tend to not associate it with such strong affection or meaning. Gerald's reaction to the hug reflects the importance of feeling loved and noticed. Growing up in the spotlight on Network Nanny and being viewed as "the crapper", Gerald never received an ounce of authentic love from Tasha or his mother. It broke my heart when I reread this part of the book. How could I have overlooked this? Clearly Gerald did not like the emotion that a simple hug evoked in him, leading to his decision to create the pact.
Throughout the book, I feel as though Gerald finally began to let people in and realize that he was worthy of having someone love him and show affection toward him. This is evident in his relationship with Hannah. Gerald loved her and felt completely comfortable in her presence. It was once he met her that Gerald felt happy and saw a positive future in his life. I'm sure Gerald would say that the no hug pact has been erased as a result of meeting Hannah. Gerald finally understands that he is worthy of authentic love and affection. In fact, I'd say he demands it.