Wednesday, 19 March 2008

Mark Barrowcliffe, The Elfish Gene

Now, I suppose I'm going to have to give in to my geeky side here and admit that, as a kid, I played an assortment of tabletop RPGs, D&D among them. So did Mark Barrowcliffe, but for some reason he felt the need to write a book about it.

In theory, this has the potential to be quite good. A teenaged boy, weak and socially inept, finds an obsession that weaves around his years of growing up. It might offer a unique insight into growing up in the midlands in the late 1970s. Alternatively, it might offer a funny insight into a hobby with an eccentric reputation and a large following. The trouble is, it tries to do both. That frequently means it's trying to make too much of a point to bother being truely funny, and yet shies away from real insight at crucial moments for the sake of getting a laugh. The joke in question mostly seems to be 'hey, wasn't I embarrassing as a teenager'. Yes, you were, but I don't care.

The trouble is, if I'm going to read an autobiography, it needs to be of someone I'm interested in. The incredibly annoying teenage self of this writer just doesn't meet that description.

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