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Confessions of a Part-time Sorceress (Girl's Guide to "Dungeons & Dragons") Paperback – 18 Sep 2007

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Product details

  • Paperback: 177 pages
  • Publisher: Wizards of the Coast (18 Sept. 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0786947268
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786947263
  • Product Dimensions: 13.1 x 1.5 x 20.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 579,323 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Amanda Kear on 10 Sept. 2011
Format: Paperback
A fun book, probably aimed more at those who have no idea what a roleplaying game is, than aimed at dedicated gamers, but there is something in it for everyone. The bits where the author describes what her non-gamer friends think of Dungeons & Dragons (and try it out for themselves) are hysterically funny. The rest is also amusing, but if you have played D&D yourself, there are some chunks of explanation that can be skipped. It suffers a bit in places from `My character is so kewl' syndrome, but overall is a delightful read.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Ms. Elinor Vickers on 11 Jun. 2011
Format: Paperback
A highly entertaining introduction to (and tongue-in-cheek look at) the world of Dungeons and Dragons. It's funny, it's informative and it even has in-game recipe ideas. Top Stuff.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 61 reviews
63 of 73 people found the following review helpful
Fun! 20 Sept. 2007
By M. Cloutier - Published on
Format: Paperback
Are you a woman who's never played Dungeons & Dragons but has always been curious about it? Do you have a friend/husband/boyfriend who plays, and who has maybe invited you to play, but you were intimidated by the stereotypes about nerds and geeks, or thought it would to be too hard, or have too many rules, or take too much time? Well if so, Confessions of a Part-Time Sorceress is the book for you.

Author Shelly Mazzanoble writes from the point of view of an extremely (even hyper-) girly young woman who loves to shop, watch soaps and get mani-pedis- and who also loves participating in the ongoing campaigns of Astrid the elf and her band of adventurers. She wants to convince women that D&D isn't all about smelly geeks in a basement casting arcane spells and speaking with cheesy British accents while dressed in chainmaille and Ren Faire outfits. Her thesis is that it's just about groups of friends coming together on a regular basis for a fun, wholesome activity that fires the imagination, fosters social skills and helps participants gain confidence.


Let me just say up front that I am exactly the sort of person towards whom this book is aimed. My husband is an avid D&D player, as have been many of my male friends throughout my life. I always thought it was a boy thing- a little seedy, a little smelly, and just a little weird. I was in college before I knew any women who played, and they weren't, uhm, people I could relate to. So I just thought, this isn't for me, and put it aside. So when this book came along I thought, okay, let's see if this woman can sell me on D&D. Cause if she can sell me, she can sell anyone.

Most of the book consists of a girly primer on the basics of D&D. She writes about spells, points, character sheets and dice; she includes cute illustrations and quizzes, and even some recipes of suggested appetizers to serve at your own D&D party. The tone is light and breezy, and peppered with pop-culture and fashion references, and the dominant color is pink. It's cute. It's informative. I liked it when she talked about her own story of how she came to play and how she seems like someone I can relate to. Even though the stereotypes aren't the whole story, there is still a lot of truth to them and they do put people like me off the game. I mean, most of the reason I've rejected the idea of playing is that I think I just wouldn't fit in in most groups. But maybe I'm wrong.

As far as actual game-play, the rules and regs aren't as intimidating or as difficult as I thought. And I like the idea that it's not competitive. I like Mazzanoble's tone and style, and I think the information is presented in a way that's easy to understand. Her "I'm an outsider who became an insider" approach helps, too. And there's lots of humor and silliness, too. I love the little features like "Top Ten Spells Every Woman Should Know", quizzes, cute recipes and the appendix with a sample character sheet. All in all a fun little read. Did she sell me on playing D&D? Well, let's just say I'm not as hostile to the idea as I used to be. And every once in a while I catch myself checking out dice...
29 of 34 people found the following review helpful
You Won't Become Stupid Reading This Book! 31 Jan. 2008
By Shana Rosenberg - Published on
Format: Paperback
I felt the need to put up a defense for this book after reading the multiple 1 and 2 star reviews. Sure, it stereotypes a certain kind of shopaholic girly-girl that would watch E! television as though it was CNN. The pages do have massive amounts of pink ink. And yes, the author does espouse often that math is hard.

But that is all part of a carefully crafted strategy to create a mind-bend for all the women who believe in the "Gamers are all nerdy men who still live in their parents' basement and eat doritos for dinner" stereotype.

She NEVER says that all women are shallow and only think of shoes. She says that SHE is a shallow girly-girl who would rather pick out a handbag than do any math. She is describing entering the world of gaming from HER point of view. You may not be the same type of person the author is, but you do not have to take on the holier than thou feminist attitude that all depictions of girly-girl are creating a world of unempowered women. I will grant that if you do not find it humorous to read page after page of shopping and pop-culture analogies as they apply to D&D, this is not the book for you.

I thought this book did a good job at what it set out to do: break the stereotypes regarding gamers and gaming while providing a breezy and entertaining read. You do not receive any but the most basic of basics regarding the game of D&D, so do not read this book with learning the game as an expectation. But you do receive lots of information about the benefits of gaming as far as social interaction, confidence building, and creativity. And if that's not important to impart to those with a negative view of gaming, I'm not sure what is.

I might have considered giving this book 5 stars, but I couldn't believe the author, as a girly-girl, didn't place more emphasis on the dice! What gamer doesn't realize the importance of accessorizing with dice? Many years ago I purchased a set to wear in an amulet bag at my wedding.

And they were pink ;)
24 of 29 people found the following review helpful
Fun Little Book 18 Nov. 2007
By J. Huss - Published on
Format: Paperback
I suggested that my girlfriend check read this book after she went kinda cross-eyed when I was trying to explain D&D to her. She read through the whole thing and now has a much better understanding of the game, and that is the basic point - Guys, if you are having trouble explaining D&D to your wife/girlfriend etc. this is a really nice book to have them read. It might not get them to play, but at least they will better understand your hobby afterward.

The book is written in a light-hearted tone that really carries the reader along. There is a lot of humor and it is interesting to see a "girly-girl's" take on the game. There are plenty of stereotypes in the book that make it easy to draw analogies between a girl's world and D&D. And while most girls are not likely chic as this one is, most could likely understand the world that she is describing.

Also, this book is also for women who have never played the game before and really don't have much of a clue as to what it is about. If you already play the game, then this book is not going to be much more than a quick, fun, light-hearted read that doesn't take itself too seriously.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
It made me laugh and remember! 15 July 2010
By Forbes Robbins Blair - Published on
Format: Paperback
I was casually looking at the D&D shelf when this pink book stood out. I thought maybe it had been misshelved. When I saw the subtitle, I had to take a peek inside its pages.

As a guy who used to play D&D, this book made me laugh out loud within about one minute of reading. Not many books can do that for me these days. I got to see through the eyes of the girls I used to play D&D with and to laugh at things like the "myths" of roleplaying the author points out: many of which have a foothold in eating too many chips, playing in my parents' basement.

And she points out how roleplayers love to tell stories of their adventures and are all too happy to share their knowledge of the game with newbies.

I really don't know how many women are out there who are considering playing D&D that need to buy this book. But you know what? This book isn't just for women. There's plenty of fun stuff for us guys. I really enjoy her diary entries...which are really pieces of her gaming adventures. Massively entertaining.

This book reminded me how much I miss much fun it was to bond with friends in a way that other games and entertainment can never hope to match.

"Sorceress" reminded me in a very lighthearted way that D&D was one of those pivotal things from my youth that turned on my imagination and creativity...leading me to who I am today. Again, I don't know of too many books that have done that for me lately.

If you are a longtime gamer, I can't imagine you not liking this. If you're new to D&D, this is a great introduction to how to play it and WHY playing it is so worthwhile. Does it make you a geek? Maybe. But guess who ends up ruling the world? No, not your sports heroes. Geeks!

This book would make very fun summer reading, I would think.
34 of 47 people found the following review helpful
These tired stereotypes make me want to 20-sided die 26 Feb. 2008
By Jane Vincent - Published on
Format: Paperback
Wow. I guess this book is perfect for anyone who wishes the Player's Handbook was more like US Weekly. Shelly Mazzanoble puts SO much effort into girling it up in this book that it frequently made me question whether she is actually a real life "she" at all, or a sloppily created Wizards of the Coast character. Or, caricature, rather, who can't get through a page without relating some aspect of the game to shoe shopping. There's nothing wrong with being girly, thinking about clothes, or buying shoes, but focusing on these as the ONLY way women could relate to and understand D&D is frankly insulting.
I guess what disappoints me is that on the surface this seemed like an effort by Wizards of the Coast to reach out to lady gamers and potential lady gamers, but the book attempts this by appealing to a superficial, insipid, apparel-oriented nature. Don't they know there's a vast pool of girl nerds in the world who would love to play D&D for the adventure, the camaraderie, and the chance to be creative and imaginative, rather than just as another excuse to think about shopping?
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