Friday, January 9, 2015

Review: Scars & Stripes: The Culture of Modern Roller Derby!

Title: Scars & Stripes: The Culture of Modern Roller Derby
Authors:Andréanna Seymore, Timothy Travaglini
Format: egalley
Pub. Date: October 10th 2014
Source: Netgalley & Schiffer Publishing

Book Description via Goodreads:

Join photographer and skater Andreanna Seymore on her fearless journey through the world of roller derby, beginning with her serendipitous introduction to the sport in 2008. Modern roller derby is a vibrant, empowering, and revolutionary movement transitioning from obscure subculture to mainstream pastime on both a national, as well as global, stage. Action-packed and emotionally provocative photographs taken over a five-year period reveal the joy, pain, and dedication of these athletes on and off the track. Enriched by riveting and often touching commentary from nearly one hundred skaters, coaches, fans, and referees, this book captures the daring, entrepreneurial spirit of the participants, the extraordinary bonds that form, and the invigorating and infectious fanaticism that characterizes every bout. An increasing number of male, co-ed, and junior leagues all share a strong, do-it-yourself ethic that combines fierce athleticism with elements from punk, camp, and third-wave feminist aesthetics. In part because of this non-discriminatory nature, roller derby is currently the fastest growing sport in America.



I've always had a fascination with roller derby. Maybe it's because it's a sport where girls are encouraged to be strong and bad ass. Maybe it's because I have a preference for fashion that involves fishnets and bright makeup. Or maybe it's got to do with my love of names that involve a sharp pun. Regardless, I've always been interested in derby culture. In fact, once my local team hosts "fresh meat" auditions, I have every intention of going and getting involved. When Scars and Stripes came onto my radar, I knew I needed it ASAP. I'm glad it lived up to my hopes.

This book gives a great, uncommon insight into the derby world, glimpses that most "outsiders" don't get a chance to see. It includes behind the scenes stories and photographs of both male and female derby skaters. From icing bruises, to Jell-o wrestling, to national championship victories and drinks with the team, this gives an honest and heartfelt look at one of the most underrated (in my humble opinion) sports around today. I really loved hearing what all the skaters had to share. They have great memories and fierce loyalty and dedication. It was so cool to read about. I liked that a lot of ages, teams, genders, and stories were represented in this book, giving the book a well-rounded feel.

And then of course there's the photography, which is absolutely phenomenal. The colors, the shots, the stories the photographer is able to tell with her pictures is amazing. They gave great insight and illustrated the skaters' stories well. It made this book the kind of book that I would come back and flip through over and over again. In addition to being a great story told about the life of roller derby skaters, it's also a work of art. I was blown away.

If you're interested in roller derby, involved in it, or just want to look at some stunning photography, Stars and Stripes is the book for you. Thanks to Netgalley & Schiffer Publishing for my copy in exchange for my honest review.


  1. This is a great review, I've been meaning to look into roller derby more for a while because I don't know nearly enough about it as I'd like. As you know, I don't really sport.... At all....So many just have too many complicated rules and different point values but some are only valid on a Tuesday and there's quarters and downs and innings and cards and flags and- I just can't ever seem to wrap my head around it enough to enjoy watching it, let alone playing it. But roller derby at least seems to be less complicated to understand, and I enjoy watching it already without really understanding much other than there's a lot of bruising and aggression. So I'd really love to read more about it, then I won't be lost at all when I come to cheer you on after you make the local team :)