- 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: 641,614 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Confessions of a Part-time Sorceress (Girl's Guide to "Dungeons & Dragons") Paperback – 18 Sep 2007
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Top Customer Reviews
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
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...
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 ;)
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.
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?
That said, I have to admit that overall, I enjoyed reading this book. A lot of it was fun. Yes it was full of the stereotypes and cliches she was supposedly trying to help dispel, but I guess I like laughing at myself.
I suggest this book to other gamers with a really good sense of humor...and of course, die hard fans of "Sex and the City" looking to date a gamer.