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In Real Life | Cory Doctorow + Jen Wang | Review

Anda loves Coarsegold Online, the massively-multiplayer role-playing game where she spends most of her free time. 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. 

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.

When I went to Portland, Oregon, I visited Powell's Books (the greatest place on earth), and one of the books I picked up was this super cute graphic novel, In Real Life by Cory Doctorow (illustrated by Jen Wang). I haven't read that many graphic novels before, but I had seen this one around the internet and decided to give it a go.

Thanks to the Goodreads description above, you have a pretty good idea as to what it's about, but in short, Anda starts playing Coursegold Online and part of her role in this new guild she's a part of is to track down gold farmers and get rid of them. But what she soon realises is that these gold farmers are actual players and not bots, and the conditions they're living and playing in are anything but healthy.

“This life is real too. We're communicating aren't we?”  

Not only was this a really sweet story about an online friendship through this massively multiplayer online game, but it's also about economics, work places environments, and human rights.

It's just a wee book, and will only take you an hour, perhaps, to read, but it's well worth picking up. Jen Wang's illustrations are so sweet and the story line is fun, quirky, and important.

Have you read In Real Life?

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