Books

In Real Life by Jen Wang and Cory Doctorow

“All that is sweet was paid for, once upon a time, by principled people who risked everything to change then for the better.”
-Cory Doctorow in the introduction’

 

 

 

In Real Life is a short comic book on both gaming and economics, tying both together with political elements. Cory Doctorow, the writer of this original story, adds an introduction that may help readers recognize this connection. I felt that his intro was an important part of the book that should not be skipped.
 

The comic, with illustrations by Jen Wang, starts off by introducing our main character, Anda. She discovers an online game and soon meets other players, including a new friend. The friend shows Anda players who are “farming,” — or in other words —gathering digital items to sell for real life money. This is against the rules of the game. The plot quickly builds up from there. The game  makes Anda wonder about the morality behind farming and when ‘real life’ meets Anda’s gaming and vice versa, she starts to question herself and others around her.

Although I am not a teacher, this book may be a great addition to a Young Adult Literature class and would also be a great book to put on library shelves.

The comic showed great parallels to gaming and the real world, despite both seeming to be separate at first glance. It also showed the resourcefulness of gaming and applications to real life and justice. The relationship between the artwork and the story could also be discussed.

I was also really happy to see a plus sized main character.  Both the author and artist gave a balanced cast of characters that fit well for this short book. This book gave just the right amount of characters to focus on without it feeling overwelming. 

Although the book is a quick read, the art and story resonated with me.

In Real Life is an adaptation of a story called Anda’s Game by Doctorow, which was originally published back in 2004 on Salon.com.

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