Book length - 212 pages
Publisher - Crooked Cat Publishing
Book Depository - www.bookdepository.com
Amazon UK - www.amazon.co.uk
Amazon US - www.amazon.com
I want to thank Joy Norstrom for providing with a copy of this book for review, and for providing an extract for you all to enjoy too.
ABOUT THE BOOK
Gillian Campbell is out of patience.
Her husband is choosing his hobby over her. And the hobby in question? Live Action Role-Play, or ‘larp’. Larp involves dressing up as a character (be it medieval knight, banshee or centaur) and participating in imaginary battles for entire weekends.
Gillian is not impressed. She seeks professional advice and is surprised when her therapist encourages her to try larp. Who knows? It may make you smile. It may make you laugh. It may even improve your sex life. How terrible could it be?
The advice seems super sketch to Gillian, but she decides to don a costume and give it a go. If larp doesn't work a marital miracle, Gillian will be able to walk away knowing she tried absolutely everything before giving up.
Will going on her own role-play adventure heal Gillian's marriage, or will the game shed light on everything that is wrong?
OUT OF PLAY by Joy Norstrom is a funny, often poignant, look at marriage and what can happen when the spark of romance seems to have died and been replaced with boredom and resentment.
Gillian is fed up with her husband Ralph. Feeling like they are room-mates rather than partners, Gillian is determined to figure out a way to fix Ralph - after all, it is his fault that he disappears most weekends LARPing with his friends (that is Live Action Role Playing for those who are unsure). So spending more time doing yoga, meeting up with her best friend Jas who has her own issues, and seeing a therapist, will surely provide her with the answers. But when the therapist suggests that Gillian should make more of an effort and join her husband on the weekends and become a part of his hobby too, Gillian is definitely unsure. But surely it is worth a shot, right?
With plenty of hilarious escapades, misunderstandings, and tender moments, OUT OF PLAY by Joy Norstrom is a story about real life and realistic problems, with characters that are flawed and more likeable for it. While I did find the pace slow at times, it didn't stop me from enjoying this story and all that it had to offer. I really enjoyed the LARPing element as it was fresh and different, but I have to admit I did not know too much about this type of hobby before reading this book.
OUT OF PLAY by Joy Norstrom is an enjoyable tale about marriage and the messiness of life and would appeal to all contemporary fiction fans alike.
Joy Norstrom is a Canadian coffee-a-holic. She also happens to be the author of Out Of Play, a women’s fiction novel long on humour and short on romance. She lives in Calgary, Alberta and enjoys hiking with her family, wine with friends and reading late into the wee hours when she should be sleeping.
Joy is also a mother and a social worker. When she's not parenting, championing inclusion, or getting lost in a good read, she can generally be found in conversation. A people-person by nature, she looks forward to meeting with book clubs both in person and online.
For more information:
Website - www.joynorstrom.ca
Twitter - twitter.com/norstrom_joy
Facebook - www.facebook.com/joynorstromwrites/
Instagram - www.instagram.com/joynorstrom/
Read on for an excerpt from Out of Play ...
“Pardon me?” I’d said. “Harping?”
“Llllarping,” the flutist had corrected. “L-A-R-P. Live-action roleplay, you know?” She’d answered my question with a smile but her predatory gaze had shifted to Ralph.
“Sorry,” I said. “I don’t know.” We were at a gala fundraising dinner for the Philharmonic Orchestra. I’d been performing with them for several years. My instrument, the French horn, might not have been the sexiest, but it was solid. Substantial. Not some flighty, erratic-sounding woodwind reminiscent of a chickadee caught sucking helium.
I took a sip of my wine and wondered how we could politely exit this conversation. Lauren, a flutist who had recently joined the orchestra, was droning on about her gap year after university, while Ralph, more interested in his bacon-wrapped artichoke, had been zero help keeping the stilted discussion going. Zero help until she’d dropped larp on him like crack cocaine.
Ralph looked up from his plate. “Live action. Is that like acting out a scene from a game? In real time or something?”
“Doesn’t it attract some strange people?” he asked. His attention was already moving back to his appetizer. “You know, Dungeon & Dragons types who haven’t left their basements since the 1970s?”
I gave a polite chuckle.
But not Lauren.
She threw her head back, long blonde waves streaming over her bare shoulders, as though Ralph had said the funniest thing ever. The swell of her breasts nearly bounced over the deep neckline of her turquoise gown.
I self-consciously smoothed my black dress – the same one I’d worn to last year’s event – over my Spanx, which were unfortunately cutting off circulation to my abdomen.
“Larp attracts all types,” Lauren said, having managed to catch her breath before her breasts escaped clean out of her dress. “If you like adventure and the outdoors and excitement, you’ll like this.” She directed her response at Ralph, who had, after all, asked the question. “You should check out our website sometime. It lists all our upcoming events.” Reaching into her purse, she pulled out a business card and handed it to Ralph.
“Oh, er, thanks.” He balanced his plate in one hand, handing his wine glass to me while pocketing the business card.
I’d found it there later. I’d taken the card with its heavily embossed gold print out of his pocket before throwing his dress pants in the wash.
And if I hadn’t found it? The card would’ve been mashed to a wet pulp and torn into several mucky pieces, later to clog the dryer vent with the rest of the lint. Would that have changed anything?
Perhaps not. We live in the Internet age. Yet I still couldn’t help wondering.
Because instead of discarding it, I’d placed the larp card in the basket with loose pocket change and odd socks, the ones whose matches were forever MIA.
And there the card had sat. Waiting to be rediscovered.
And, of course, it had been. All it took was the right series of events. A crisis had hit—the unthinkable had happened. Then, incomprehensibly, life moved on.
I remodelled the kitchen.
Ralph bought leather-studded armour.
**MY THANKS AGAIN TO JOY NORSTROM**
Hi fellow bookworms. My name is Linda and I'm a reviewer & blogger from Ireland. Oh and also a wife and mother!
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