Monday, April 6, 2015

In Real Life by Cory Doctorow and Jen Wang


In Real Life by Cory Doctorow and Jen Wang

Review by Lauren

Source: copy for review; all opinions are my own (I do not own any images in this post)

Official Summary: Anda loves Coarsegold Online, the massively-multiplayer role playing game that she spends most of her free time on. It's a place where she can be a leader, a fighter, a hero. It's a place where she can meet people from all over the world, and make friends. Gaming is, for Anda, entirely a good thing.

But things become a lot more complicated when Anda befriends a gold farmer -- a poor Chinese kid whose avatar in the game illegally collects valuable objects and then sells them to players from developed countries with money to burn. This behavior is strictly against the rules in Coarsegold, but Anda soon comes to realize that questions of right and wrong are a lot less straightforward when a real person's real livelihood is at stake.

Review: While I'm not a gamer myself, I know what it's like to befriend people online and share a common interest. Chances are, if you're reading this, you do too. Therefore, it's easy to understand Anda and how she loves to game and feel like she's part of something. She does have some friends at school, but they do not seem terribly close beyond playing Dungeons and Dragons together. Therefore, it's easy to see the excitement for Anda when she meets Lucy (or Sarge) in the game and they kill gold farmers to make real money.


It's not until Anda actually talks to one of the gold farmers, a boy from China with some ability to speak English, that she finally understands why people like him are selling aspects of the game. Anda wants to help him but that's difficult when they live on different continents, but she does her best to make things right for him. It's not so easy to change someone's life, and aspects of the book might seem a bit too good to be true, but I feel like the book does a good job showcasing the trials that one has to go through to make a difference.


On a different note, one of the things that I really loved about Anda is that she's more plus-size and since this is a graphic novel, you see it without it having to be commented on. There is one moment in the book where her parents talk about her dad being on a diet, but besides that, nothing is ever commented on about weight or how someone looks. Granted, Anda looks different in the game, but she doesn't change her body size in real life to make herself more like the avatar version of herself. I just really loved the realistic nature of Anda's character.


This was a quick, informative read! I would recommend it, especially for girls that love to play video games!

15 comments:

Tracy Terry said...

Though not a book that would particularly interest me I know lots of people who would love this.

Erika Sorocco said...

The art looks breathtaking in this!

xx

Kindlemom said...

I'm not a gamer either but of course can relate to the online thing. Glad this was a fun read.

Melliane said...

I'm not a gamer either, never were really interested in that but it could be interesting to read that.

Maja (The Nocturnal Library) said...

I'm not a gamer either, I actually get motion sickness from 1st person games, but half of my friends are far aways and we only hang out online, so I can certainly relate. In fact, I think everyone in the blogging community can. This sounds lovely, actually.

Midnight Cowgirl said...

I'm not a gamer, but I do like graphic novels!

Brandi Kosiner said...

I do play some games but you're right about bloggers finding that place they feel like they belong online

DMS said...

I have not heard of this one before, but it does sound interesting. Although I am not a gamer, I do know people who enjoy gaming. I also love graphic novels- so I will keep my eyes out for this one. :)
~Jess

GABY said...

I noticed what you said about the characters size, I like it! Seems more realistic! I'm not really a gamer, although I used to play a lot sims when I was young, but still I'm very curious about this graphic novel. I want to read more graphic novels and this one sounds good!

Angela's Anxious Life said...

Well you know I love games!! So I need to get my hands on this book. It looks really interesting. I have met a lot of people online and I think it's quite fun.

Diva Booknerd said...

I'm a part or amateur gamer on occasion and although I don't usually read manga type graphic novels, the illustrations are absolutely lovely. I love that Ana is also represented as a curvy girl, and not just skin and bones. So glad you enjoyed this one Lauren and thanks so much for sharing <3

Medeia Sharif said...

I was a gamer as a kid, but we didn't have interactive games. Even though I'm not into games anymore, this looks like an interesting read.

Emily @ Forever Literary said...

This isn't something I would naturally gravitate toward, but you make it sound interesting! Like you said, I definitely know the feeling of meeting friends online, so that aspect sounds relatable. And I love the idea of having a plus sized character without weight being a big huge deal! I'm glad you enjoyed this one - thanks for putting it on my radar. :)

Claudia Arroyo said...

Have I mentioned that I'm a certified gamer girl!? Ha ha! I'm looking into this one for sure!

Kirsty-Marie Jones said...

Yeah, I'm not a gamer either, but I've made really good friends online, and I've had a pen-pal since I was 12, we've known each other for 10 years though we've never met, but she's basically my best friend. And does sound like a real character, and glad you can see that. :)