Top critical review
Turned me off to Scrabble
on January 2, 2004
The acquaintance who recommended this book told me it would renew my interest in and excitement about playing Scrabble. Wrong! The message I took away from this read is renewed belief that human beings can pervert just about anything.
Another reviewer mentioned her offense at the author's denegration of "blue hairs," as he likes to call female senior citizens. He also seems to disdain "fat middle aged women," whom he refers to several times and whom he is humiliated to lose to. Later in the book, he deigns to devote a couple of pages to female Scrabble players and explains that, although they outnumber male players in tournaments, they are not competitive at the highest levels -- mostly because they have lives apart from Scrabble (like jobs, family, friends) -- unlike the obsessive male Scrabble players who dominate the book, several of whom seem to be genuinely mentally ill.
If I had any ideas of joining a Scrabble club or doing anything more than playing occasionally with my sister, this book squelched those desires. And perhaps it's just as well. As a fat middle-aged women about 10 years short of a blue-hair, I am probably better off sticking with quilting and needlepoint where I can be with my own kind.
I have rated this book 3 stars because Fatsis does have a way of drawing me into the book. Just when I'm ready to set it aside, either because the technical detail is boring or because I'm offended by his treatment of women, he manages to recapture my attention. It's not a page turner, but I feel compelled to finish reading it.