Like a cross between a linguistic spy and a lexicographic Olympic athlete, journalist Stefan Fatsis gave himself a year to penetrate the highest echelons of international Scrabble competition. His aim was to progress from the casual living room player to get into the elite club of international Scrabble pros. Word Freak
is the account of his journey. It's a wacky grab bag of travelogue, history, party journal and psychological study of the misfits and goofballs whose lives are measured out in Scrabble tiles.
Fatsis gives us all the facts about Scrabble--from the story of the down-on-his luck architect who invented the game in the 1930s to the intricacies of individual international competitions and the corporate wars to control the world's favourite word game. He is a good storyteller and keeps the reader turning the pages as we get involved in the lives of the Scrabble obsessives: men and women who have a point to prove against the world and have chosen Scrabble as their playground and their pulpit. As Fatsis goes on his own quest to attain the coveted 1600 rating we actually get obsessed with him as he lies awake at night pondering moves and memorising lists of words. For anybody who is interested in words and has ever been captivated and fascinated by Scrabble, Word Freak provides a compelling, entertaining and absorbing read. --Dwight Longenecker
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"This book has come close to ruining my life... Within two pages I was hooked. This is an enthralling and wonderfully written elegy" (Daily Telegraph
"A remarkable book" (Independent
"A quirky account of a very peculiar practice" (Herald
"A very funny book" (Lynn Barber)
"An amiable memoir of self-inflicted obsession" (Times Literary Supplement