Having come across this some time ago on a spotlight table at Barnes & Nobel, around about the time that the new Red Box D&D came out.. I can say without a doubt now that it's placement there was a member of staffs idea of a Joke. The Joke however, wasn't funny.
I didn't buy it right away, I didn't have the money. But I was looking for some more novels which fall within the genre known as "Lad Lit".. I'm a big Nick Hornby fan.. and Mark Barrowcliffe's name just kept popping up. I'm glad I didn't buy it then.. I had way more fun with the Red Box.. Now that I've read it though, I can say this book is absolutely not worth the money, the effort that went into it, or the time I wasted reading it. I certainly will not be reading any of his other books.
It's nothing but condescension aimed at people who read Fantasy, Play D&D and generally don't choose to fit into societies grand cog layout. The author seems to feel that one should endeavor to "Get better" from your "Sickness" that is being a fan of Fantasy.
I came upon this miserable tome, after having finished off all of Nick Hornby's books I could lay my hands on. Barrowcliffe is frequently compared to Hornby, and their writing styles are similar. But where as Hornby tends to not cast aspersions on those with obsessions.. and in fact the bulk of his characters do. Music in High Fidelity, Skateboarding in SLAM and football in Fevre Pitch, he dosen't lash out at people who happen to have other interests. Barrowcliffe however dosen't hide the fact that he is ashamed of his youth. He feels it's best to ignore and move on, and never to mention it in polite company except to make fun of all those other "nerds" who still play it or attempt to spend a few hours away from their boring and miserable lives filled with mortgages, ill health and car payments. That's unacceptable to Barrowcliffe, he feels that if you do that then you have something wrong with you.
Tommorow, I'm going to return this volume to Barnes & Noble. Then I'm going to use the money to buy some R.A. Salvatore just to spite this guy.
If you want a good book about growing up as a fan of Fantasy, Sci-Fi and gaming, Read Ethan Gilsdorf's "Fantasy Freaks and Gaming Geeks" and give your money to some one who dosen't hate you just because of your choice of past times.
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