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I'm a big fan of Dave Gorman and I love watching him on TV especially his show 'Genius'. I also love reading his books which tend to be based on quirky madcap ideas. That is certainly true of his latest book - 'Dave Gorman Vs. The Rest of the World'. It all started when Dave was a little bit bored and wrote on Twitter (where he is followed by a large number):
'Does anyone play any games?
Real life, not computer games.
Would you like a game?'
He was quite stunned by the large number of responses that he received and the amount of different games that people wanted to play. What followed were many journeys across the length and breadth of the UK where he indulged himself playing some well loved games as well as learning some new ones, and also meeting some weird, wonderful and fanatical (about games) people on his travels and enjoying visiting lots of different cities. All of these are chronicled in this immensely enjoyable and amusing book.
In ' Dave Gorman Vs. The Rest of the World', he ends up playing some very well known and much loved games such as Cluedo, Cribbage, Subbuteo and Guess Who. One lady even invited him to play Rod Hull's Emu Game - a game that somehow escaped my attention when it was first brought out. Many of the games were great for a nostalgic walk down the memory lane of childhood - that is if you are of a certain age of course! Others were entirely new to me such as Khet, Kubb and Bluke. If you like playing games, this book could certainly inspire you to try and one or two new ones. However, as Dave gives his verdict on each ones, they don't all get thumbs up recommendations!
There are also some quite dodgy escapades written about in ' Dave Gorman Vs. The Rest of the World'. These include visiting a lady who makes him have a shower and then she takes his clothes away to wash; having to hide in an attic when his Subbuteo opponent's wife arrives home unexpectedly; and being punched on the nose by a religious enthusiast who doesn't like Dave's views. This episode should serve as a very important warning - never accept a game invitation with a stranger if you don't know what the rules are! I bet you don't know what the rules to IDVE are either!
' Dave Gorman Vs. The Rest of the World' has a laid back chatty style which feels like He is confiding just in you. I really enjoyed the way that the book was written as well as the crazy idea behind it. There are also lots of very funny footnotes that also add to the overall comical effect. I love the fact that the book is about more than just the games and there are a hugely diverse set of people to read about. The book also appeals to my competitive nature because, as far as Dave is concerned, it's all about winning. He even goes so far as keeping an ongoing scorecard between himself and the rest of the world, which is regularly updated. You'll have to read the book to discover who wins though and what the final score is.
Overall, ' Dave Gorman Vs. The Rest of the World' is a hugely entertaining book and will certainly appeal to people who enjoy the Dave Gorman brand of humour. I definitely recommend it.
THis review has previously appeared under my name at www.curiousbookfans.co.uk
Dave Gorman is a comedian, who is given to projects, such as travelling the world in search of other people with his name ("Are You Dave Gorman?") or only using non-branded businesses on a road-trip across the US ("America Unchained"). He's also an active online presence, in his blog and on Twitter. In a moment of randomness, he tweeted to his 76 000 followers a question, which was "does anyone want a game?"
Of course, he was inundated by responses and this book is the story of the games he played and the people he met. He claims his intention was simply to fill time, when he found himself at a loose end since his fiancée was working away, rather than it being one of his projects. I'm inclined to believe him, although the fact the book even exists does make him look a fibber!
The games he wanted to play were not computer games, but board-games and physical games, and although he indulged in common or garden games such as Monopoly, poker and Guess Who?, he also discovered the joys of Kubb, Khet and Smite.
Gorman has a very likeable persona, and seems genuinely interested in people and places. He starts off playing in London, but soon gets told off by his Twitter followers and so spreads his game-playing across the country.
Being Cornish, I absolutely loved the chapter on Smite, which he plays in St Neot. His description of Liskeard was spot-on and hilarious. I loved the confounding of his expectation that he could get a taxi in the morning as well. The whole chapter was a very Cornish experience for the comedian. I suspect that locals of the other places he visits during the book would similarly recognise and enjoy his depictions.
Gorman takes the reader along with him effortlessly and it's a very readable book, light and amusing for the most part. There are dark moments, since rolling up to play games with complete strangers in their homes is not without risk. Gorman has a few dull and dodgy experiences as well as funny and friendly ones to tell, and he manages to write about all in a way that makes you feel connected and part of the story. I enjoyed the glimpses he shows of his relationship with his fiancée, who has a certain amount to put up with.
All in all, it's a genial and interesting book, that leaves you wanting to try out some of the games he plays and interact with people more, and I don't know, wanting to get out and _do_ something! It doesn't have a goal in mind, unlike his other books, so at times seems to wander a bit - but that is part of the point of it, after all. It is why I'm inclined to believe him about why he did this and that the book is an after-thought. As an after-thought, it's a fun one.
This book is available from Amazon as a paperback for £8.15 new or for Kindle at £7.99. You can pick up cheaper from other sellers or second-hand.