In Real Life by Cory Doctorow and Jen Wan

Rating: 4/5 starsIn Real Life

Pages: 175

Series: N/A

Genres: Young Adult, Graphic Novel, Fiction, Contemporary, Girl Power


This is a story based around the concepts of gaming and economics and is written in a way that make sit palatable for everyone, even if you’re not well versed in either of these subjects. It’s easy to read and lighthearted even when dealing with serious and important topics. I found this to be a great story as an introduction to both gaming and economics as it answers the basic questions many have about these topics and leaves room for more questions to be answered later.

On top of that, the story and the illustrations were beautifully done. Even the introduction of the book was illustrated, giving the reader a taste of what’s to come.

The main message I got from this story is that you’ll always have the chance to be rewarded for doing the right thing. Whether this is inside of a video game or in real life, doing the right thing helps not only yourself but those around you.

This is a cute, lighthearted story that’s easily digestible. It’s not too deep but if you go into it expecting a lighthearted good time, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

*Spoilers ahead*

This story does an amazing job at showing how your actions can have unintended consequences, which is true in games as well as in your real life. Raymond got fired from his job for trying to get health insurance, which he wouldn’t have done without Anda talking him into fighting for his basic rights. I’m not saying that this was the wrong thing to do, as she eventually managed to pay penance for this by helping out the people who still worked at the company Raymond got fired from, but it was something she hadn’t even considered when talking to him in the first place. It’s important to think about the effects your words and actions will have before deciding to do something, just like this story shows.

Even more important than this, the story shows how powerful of a tool gaming can be at helping a person find their own confidence. Anda was a shy girl, not really willing to stick her nose into anything, before she began playing Coarsegold Online. It was only through understanding that girls can be powerful in game that she began to understand she could be just as powerful outside of the game.

Yet the most important thing that this story might teach its readers is that it’s worth standing up for what you believe in, to protect those who can’t always protect themselves. Not everyone has the ability to stand up for themselves and might need external help. Heck, Raymond would have continued to suffer day in and day out if Anda hadn’t been willing to help. By doing research and being willing to stand up for him and his rights, Anda managed to make a change for the better – to help a whole group of people who weren’t being treated correctly.

It may seem like a lot of effort, but sometimes all it takes is one person to start a chain reaction.

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