• Podcast Librarian

Imagined Life: Guess Who via storytelling

The Premise (from Wondery): 

What is it like to be famous before you’re famous? What is it like to walk in the shoes of another person? Each episode of Imagined Life takes you on an immersive journey into the life of a world-famous person. It’ll be someone you may think you know, even admire -- or maybe the opposite. You’ll get clues to your identity along the way. But only in the final moments will you find out who “you” really are. So sit back, let go, and -- imagine your life, with our hosts, Oscar nominated Virginia Madsen and celebrated voice actor Robbie Daymond. From Wondery, the network behind Dirty John.


Series or standalone:

Standalone

Begin listening to:

Any episode

Format:

Second person narrative point of view

Host(s): 

Female narratives told by Virginia Madsen, and male narratives told by Robbie Daymond. Both are talented voice actors.


Sound/production quality: 

Excellent


Rating/age suitability: 

There’s no offensive language, so you can listen with kids around--but they probably won’t know who the subject is, so they may not be engaged.


Approximate length of episodes: 

Right around 45 minutes

Curricular ties: 

As mentioned above, kids/teens likely won’t be able to guess most of the subjects of the episodes. However, this might be a good model for a writing exercise. You could have students listen to an episode and then choose their own favorite famous person. They could write a narrative in the same format, with hints as to the person’s identity and then trade with a partner to read and guess.


Similar recommended pods: 

Everything is Alive


The Podcast Librarian’s Review:

This pod is a blend of storytelling and a guessing game. Narrated by either Virginia or Robbie, each episode focuses on an unnamed famous person’s life with details from their childhood (which make it harder to guess their identity) and on. There are little hints written into the script that will help you solve the mystery of the unnamed protagonist, and the name is revealed at the end. Some episodes were easier to guess than others. I must say, I’m generally not a fan of anything written in the 2nd person point of view (if it’s been a while since you took a grammar class, that’s the “You” perspective: You wake up in the morning and look out your window. You see that it is raining, and you remind yourself to bring an umbrella, and so on). My anti-2nd person POV position is why I couldn’t get through another pod, The Big One, even though I was interested in the subject (the gigantic earthquake that scientists suspect will hit California in the imminent future). However, 2nd person narration is almost necessary for this podcast so as not to distract from the story, so I found I didn’t mind it. This is an easy podcast to listen to around the house or on a walk—nothing terribly exciting or high-stakes, but you may be surprised to learn something new about a famous person.





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