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Something Real by Heather Demetrios

Even moms break promises.

Interests/Topics: reality television, family relationships, romance, friendship, LGBTQ

Curriculum Connections: English, Media Studies

Gender: F/M

Age: 14+

Blurb: My daughter doesn’t watch a lot of television, which is why I became a tad bit suspicious the other day when she told me that I needed to buy an elliptical/treadmill cross-training machine, a no-more-tears detangling brush, and an amazingly painless hair removal system. Sure enough, she had made herself quite the little nest on the couch in Papa and Nana’s TV room. The commercial producers should be satisfied that their selling techniques are working well with the nine-to-twelve age group.

I continue to be struck by the phrase “reality television.” I mean, give me a break. In the day and age of Photoshop, voice-overs, and numerous editing tools, who can seriously believe that anything on TV is real? Everyone is out to make a buck, and sensationalism sells. Chloe, aka Bonnie Baker in Heather Demetrios’s book Something Real, knows all about so-called reality TV and the lengths that producers will go to in order increase viewership. Bonnie has been filmed since literally the day she was born on her parents’ reality show “Baker’s Dozen.” Her every step, every word, every carefully planned outfit has been broadcast to millions of adoring fans.

But now Bonnie is a teenager and she just wants to be “Chloe,” a regular girl who has regular friends, and, hopefully, a regular boyfriend. Her mom promised that she would never have to be part of the show again after the season when Bonnie nearly died from the stress, and for the last four blissful years, Chloe has lived a regular life. No one at her new school knows that she’s “Bonnie,” and she couldn’t be happier (or healthier) with her perfectly normal life of anonymity.

Too bad Chloe’s mom doesn’t keep her promises.

Flavour: “I can’t believe it. Despite all her promises, my mom has finally given in to MetaReel. After four camera-free years, the cast of Baker’s Dozen—my family—is back on the air.” (15)

“It’s hard to explain to people who didn’t grow up with [cameras]. Even mom doesn’t understand how being in front of a camera all the time twists and warps you. How one second it makes you feel unbelievably alive and the next publicly strips you down until all that’s left is one big question mark.” (32)

“I think the noise I make is a nervous laugh, but I’m worried it might sound more like a bray. Then I start talking because I have to answer, right? And it’s like I’m on speed, each word rear-ending the next in its haste to spew out of my mouth because I want to skip over the me in this and just be a normal girl talking to this boy who gets under her skin the best kind of way, but its unavoidable, what I did, and I wish I could go back and undo it, but I can’t. So that’s why Patrick Sheldon will never, ever be my boyfriend, and I hate, just completely hate, my life. I want to be someone else or I’ll explode.” (60)

“It’s weird thinking about us Bakers influencing people, considering we’re probably America’s most dysfunctional family. I almost feel bad for anyone watching us who can feel inspired. That’s ten kinds of messed up.” (99)

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