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Jessica (HDB)

I'm a bookworm of the highest caliber! If you see me, I'll probably be reading. There's nothing I love more than finding a good book, and then sharing it with the world!

In Real Life by Cory Doctorow and Jen Wang

In Real Life - Cory Doctorow, Jen Wang

My thoughts on this graphic novel are a little muddled, so please pardon any rambling. I chose to read In Real Life for two main reasons. First off, I was charmed by the fact that it included girl gamers. It's all too easy to forget that there are plenty of us out there who love video games just as much as our male counterparts. I've logged more hours on World of Warcraft then I could possibly ever count. Which brings to me reason number two, and that's the fact that it dealt with an MMORPG. I was curious to see how Cory Doctorow would take this setting and include the message he wanted to get across. The fact that you can talk to anyone, anywhere in the world, in games like these made it a perfect platform.

 

I absolutely loved the illustrations contained in this story. Anda and her friends looked like real people, in that there were multiple body types depicted. Why couldn't Anda be a chubby girl? Why shouldn't she be? I loved the fact that she was what she was, and wasn't ashamed of it. The world of Coarsegold Online was gorgeous, and the avatars each character had within were wonderful. I could have flipped through these pages over and over, just to soak up the atmosphere.

 

The story is where I'm torn. In Real Life tackles a very large subject in a rather limited amount of pages. When Anda discovers that there is money to be made in killing "gold-farmers" in the game (which are a real thing by the way), she reluctantly agrees to participate. Color her surprised when she discovers that those gold-farmers are actually real people's avatars, and that it is an actual job for them. What comes next was interesting, to say the least. Anda becomes wrapped up in a story that tries to hard to discuss ethnicity, culture, and fundamental human rights.

 

The problem is that Anda isn't at all knowledgeable about the situation of the boy she's trying to help. I can't say too much, since I don't want to spoil this for potential readers, but there are a lot of questions that never really have answers. I have nothing but love for the fact that this graphic novel wanted to address so many issues. The simple fact that it even dealt with gender equality in video games meant a lot to me. The downfall, I think, came in the fact that it tried to do so much in such a short amount of time. It ended up less believable, and it made Anda look like a privileged white girl rather than a hero.

 

Did I enjoy the read? Definitely. I can't deny that being lost in Coarsegold Online was fun, and that I liked Anda as a character. There were just too many things left undone for me to give this a higher rating.