Out of Play, by Joy Norstrom

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? (Synopsis courtesy of Amazon)

Out of Play is nothing like it seems.

I went into this novel expecting it to focus primarily on a marriage suffering due to a husband’s obsession with Larping. The fact that the story centers around Larping drew me to it, because I’ve brushed shoulders with those who have thrown a lightning bolt or two. I wanted to gain a deeper understanding, to try and get into the mind of someone who delves into any hobby or interest that doesn’t quite fit into the confines of what would be deemed “acceptable” or “normal”. Interests that think outside the box.

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While there’s plenty of Larping to go around, and all the humor you could want accompanying it, I discovered something much more. Something deeply emotional and profound. Gillian’s husband Ralph isn’t Role Playing just to role play. He’s trying to run away and hide from the realities of his life. It’s his way of coping. And while Gillian can only see his hobby as an obsession, it’s obvious these two have a very hard time seeing one another for who they really are, and for the pain they are both trying to heal from.

It snuck up on me, the deeper waters to this story. While I had some suspicions, I found myself steered away by the other issues going on, much like how Gillian and Ralph have lived for so many years. I was another character in their experiences, swept away in the confusion and comedic fumblings they both go through. And just when you think you’ve squared it all away, you’re hit with real truth and reality.

There was so much to relate to, for me. Someone you love who is more into their hobbies than you. Or, rites of passage that are stripped away unfathomably. Discovering new-found interests that you’d never have thought you’d be interested in, not in a million years. Or maybe the most important: it’s never as it seems.

Out of Play is nothing like it seems, which makes it pretty perfect.

Thanks to Hello…Chick Lit for the book in exchange for an honest review. Check out all the other blogs participating in the book tour.

Jan 2nd
Hello Chick Lit – Book Excerpt
Jan 3rd
Steamy Book Momma – Book Promo Post
Jan 4th
Kristin’s Novel Café – Book Excerpt/Promo Post
Jan 5th
Jena Books – Book Review/Excerpt
Jan 7th
Book Lover in Florida – Book Review/Excerpt
Jan 8th
Appletree Books – Book Review
Jan 9th
Grass Monster – Book Review
Jan 10th
ItaPixie’s Book Blogger – Book Review/Excerpt Post
Jan 11th
Pretty Little Book Reviews – Book Excerpt
Originally reviewed for Chick Lit Central
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