Top critical review
Doesn't age well
on 18 November 2013
A lot has changed in the world of roller derby since 2007 when the book was published, and it shows. Even in just the last 3 years since I started playing in the UK, the bitchy, overly image-conscious side of roller derby has all but died out. It's hard now to relate to the author's overly-dramatic and gossipy writing style, and I gave up even reading the player and team biogs towards the end which all blended into one samey and uninteresting blur.
I skate under a derby pseudonym, which I love, but the descriptions of several 'archetypal' derby alter-ego characters that supposedly everyone fits in to in one way or another are just ridiculous.
The book is obviously of its time, and describes the beginnings of a sport which is developing very quickly, so I suppose it's no surprise it has quickly become dated. It's fairly interesting in places for its descriptions of the history of the sport and the modern revival, but its play by play re-tellings of numerous early bouts are largely unnecessary, and quickly become boring.
If you watch and play roller derby today (November 2013 at the time of writing this review) you're likely to be frustrated, like me, by the style and content of the book. It's interesting to learn about the beginnings of the sport's revival, the fights on track etc, but I suppose it's a shame the book wasn't written 5 years later in order to cover the increasingly serious, dedicated, athletic side of the sport that is far more empowering and encouraging to today's derby players (both women and men!) than plaid mini skirts and the simple desire to 'knock b*tches over' (as the author puts it) could ever have been!