As a former gamer that is trying to get back into it, when I see a novel about the subject, I get intrigued. When I see a librarian on my Twitter feed mention a new book about Dungeons and Dragons, I get to the library’s website and put the book on my pull list. Yes, folks, tidbits like this is why it’s awesome to follow librarians on Twitter! Anyway, while waiting for the book to come in, I hit Gen Con, and advertisements for it were plastered in the program, and copies were for sale at the Half Price Books booth when we went to visit some of my wife’s former co-workers. This helped pump me up for the book even more, so I was excited when I got the notice from the library saying my copy was in. So, with great anticipation, I went, picked up my copy, and then started reading it when I got home that night.
The first thing I noticed is the author had a habit of switching the tale up a bit. He would mix his bits about the facts pertaining to the history of the game, in with tales of his character. While it makes for a unique take, it is actually rather distracting, and takes you a bit out of what’s going on. In my opinion, it’s almost like he couldn’t tell which story he wanted to tell. However, there was still some good information in there, and some of his character stories were fun, despite the stereotype of how bad “Let me tell you about what my character did” stories are.
If I had one gripe, though, it wasn’t about the style of writing. There was a case of, I don’t know, self-loathing, perhaps, that seemed to taint the entire book. While I am a student of self-depreciating “humor,” he seemed to take it to the next step, showing shame for his geekish tendencies and his past of playing Dungeons and Dragons. Every time he’d slip some of that shame in, it made me put the book down and find something better to do.
All in all, it wasn’t a bad book. Definitely check it out from your local library if you want to give it a flip through. If you would like to purchase a copy, you can find it on Amazon, as well. I know it’s not a book that I would find myself re-reading, but your mileage may vary.
“Of Dice and Men: The Story of Dungeons & Dragons and the People Who Play It” is by David M. Ewalt.