Wednesday, November 27, 2013

You Look Different in Real Life by Jennifer Castle

Five 6 year olds are sitting around a table. They talk and giggle with each other. They have been filmed for a documentary called Five at Six that explores the lives of the young classmates. The success of the film amazes even its creators. Five years later, another film is made called Five at Eleven with the same group. What are they doing now? How have they changed? Now, it is five years later...

Those happy little children have grown up and apart. Felix and Nate were best friends once; now they do not speak to each other, forget about sitting at the same table. Olivia suffered a humiliation in the last film, so she keeps her distance from everyone except Nate. Rory and Justine were once close, too, but things have happened.

Justine has been expecting the call about being in the next documentary. She doesn't want to do it. Her life has not turned out the way everyone expected (just check the internet) including her. She's the one who stood out among the five - the one who was supposed to become something. Now, she watches the documentaries and thinks about all the things she gave up and why.

The tension is high as the group is brought back together under the scrutiny of the camera. They are more savvy now and guarded about their lives and how much the really want to reveal. They know the most dramatic bits will be used in the film. Somethings have gone unsaid for years, so they are hesitant to talk for the whole world to hear. Justine knows on some level that all five of them are being manipulated.

In science, it is believed that you cannot observe a system without changing it. The lives of these five young people have been affected by being in the documentary. The film is not just capturing the lives of these young people as they go through normal changes, it is also capturing how the films have changed them. Is it good or bad? You will have to decide that for yourself.

For more info, check out the Evergreen Library catalog and the author's site.

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