There was a time in my life when I considered myself a gamer. I guess now I’d have to say that I’m a gamer without time to game, between work and reading and a couple of side hustles.
Bugz is caught between two worlds. In the real world, she’s a shy and self-conscious Indigenous teen who faces the stresses of teenage angst and life on the Rez. But in the virtual world, her alter ego is not just confident but dominant in a massively multiplayer video game universe.
Feng is a teen boy who has been sent from China to live with his aunt, a doctor on the Rez, after his online activity suggests he may be developing extremist sympathies. Meeting each other in real life, as well as in the virtual world, Bugz and Feng immediately relate to each other as outsiders and as avid gamers. And as their connection is strengthened through their virtual adventures, they find that they have much in common in the real world, too: both must decide what to do in the face of temptations and pitfalls, and both must grapple with the impacts of family challenges and community trauma.
But betrayal threatens everything Bugz has built in the virtual world, as well as her relationships in the real world, and it will take all her newfound strength to restore her friendship with Feng and reconcile the parallel aspects of her life: the traditional and the mainstream, the east and the west, the real and the virtual.Publisher’s Summary from Penguin Random House Canada
I had the awesome opportunity to hear Wab Kinew speak at this year’s ALAN Workshop in a session called “Playing the Game.” He spoke about this was not the book he originally set out to write, and how he found it important to tie in the toxic masculinity aspect of online gaming. I thought about the parallels between Alpha’s attempt to take over the Floraverse (the online gaming world) and the genocide of indigenous people in the Americas.
It also just so happened that I received a copy of the audiobook courtesy of Libro.fm’s ALC program and was in need for an audiobook for my daily two hour commute. Turns out it was the right book at the right time.
And the sticky note says…
#StickyNoteReview for Walking in Two Worlds by @wabkinew. Physical copy courtesy of @PenguinRandomCA. #Audiobook copy courtesy of PRH Canada and @librofm.
SNRtbs Wab Kinew crafted a novel–equal parts fun and thought provoking—that explores the dichotomies found in the life of an Indigenous teen. Bugz is a gamer, and a popular one at that, walking in the real and virtual worlds. And the world of tradition and moden society… among others. Kinew also explores reeducation schools, body image and the toxic masculinity of the world of online gaming. If you enjoyed Slay, or Ready Player One [edit: or Warcross], I’m sure you’ll enjoy this as well.