In Real Life, a coming-of-age novel by Brandon Taylor, readers are presented with the character of Wallace, a graduate student studying Biochemistry and faring the obstacles of his and his friends’ approaching adulthood. In traditional bildungsroman form, Wallace undergoes a series of events throughout the course of a weekend that leaves him searching for answers, demanding “why?” from the various forms of his life. Taylor stages these events using modest language and vivid imagery as a means to shed light on the nuance and complexity of rising to adulthood, shading expectation against reality.
The process of reading and analyzing this book and creating the podcast from an individual rather than group perspective was an interesting one. I found that, while I missed out on the discussion time that many of the groups had, I was afforded a lot of time to dive into the text, reread sections, and do research. I often searched online and found sections of the book read in different voices, such as here and here, in the author’s own voice. Not having group-mates to share their perspectives with me, I investigated other perspectives on the book, and very often listened to and read Taylor’s own explanations of the prose. This drove the format of my podcast, which, inspired by several other podcasts that cover news stories, used direct clips from interviews with Taylor throughout to introduce another perspective and to share the firsthand insight that I had been receiving while reading the book.