Thursday, December 11, 2014

In Real Life

I don't really remember what attracted me to In Real Life, the new graphic novel by Cory Doctorow and Jen Wang.  I've read some stuff by Cory Doctorow and liked it, so when In Real Life finally showed up at the library, I was more than happy to read it.

In Real Life is the story of Anda, a girl who falls in love with the new MMORPG Coarsegold Online.  Her mother lets her play under the stipulation that she only hang out with girls her age, something relatively easy because of the guild Anda has joined.  But one of her new friends, Lucy aka Sarge, talks Anda into killing gold farmers for real world money.  Anda agrees and life is good until she meets Raymond, a gold farmer from China.  Raymond is the first gold farmer to actually talk to her.  And so she starts to learn about his life and the horrid conditions under which he lives (he farms gold for hours every day, and is suffering from a back injury but doesn't have a doctor or coverage to get it treated).  Things come to a head when Anda's mother discovers the money coming into her Paypal account and Sarge discovers Anda's friendship with a gold farmer.

In Real Life was a really interesting story about economics, video games, and bullying (sort of).  It was also a really interesting look at how we take our lives here in the West for granted (and what it's like elsewhere in the world).

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