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Rollergirl: Totally True Tales from the Track
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Rollergirl: Totally True Tales from the Track

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3.77 of 5 stars 3.77  ·  rating details  ·  315 ratings  ·  49 reviews
The 1950s phenomenon of Roller Derby is back in full force, and it's definitely not your grandma's game anymore. With leagues in more than one hundred cities across the country, a national tournament, and major sponsors, the new wave of the sport has gone mainstream. No one is better qualified to tell the story of Flat Track Derby's astronomic rise than Melissa "Melicious" ...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published February 6th 2007 by Touchstone
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El
My reading of this significantly improved after my initial impression at the Page 8 mark. I thought it was going to be one of those GRRRLS RAWK kinds of books throughout, and while there was the occasional overbearing attempts at that form of feminism, it turned out to be not quite as distracting as I expected.

The author, Melissa "Melicious" Joulwan, uses the book not just to tell the stories of bouts (though she does that too) - she showcases some of the more popular and successful roller girls
...more
Lani
Jun 18, 2008 Lani rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: rollergirls and their fans
Hardly a perfect book, but a fun read for an aspiring Roller Girl.

This book follows the history of the Austin roller girls leagues as they catfight their way into the current teams. The book includes several (overly long) bout recaps, and introductions to several of Mel's favorite roller girls. It culminates with the 2006 championships - rather unsuprisingly won by Mel's team, the first league to start.

There were a few highlights throughout the book: descriptions of the over-the-top first bouts
...more
Timothy
Brilliant. A tremendous memoir that alongside Alex Cohen and Jennifer Barbee's Down and Derby: The Insider's Guide to Roller Derby, is an absolute must-read for any fan of modern roller derby. But read this one before the other as it truly begins at the beginning.

With a brief, but balanced recap of historic Roller Derby, Melissa "Melicious" Joulwan's journey starts with the birth of the modern game in Austin, Texas. A Hollywood scriptwriter could not have dreamt up more tension and drama that a
...more
Betterthanfiction
Melicious' book is a a must read for any derby fans or aspiring derby girls. Covering the early days of the Texas Roller Girls (the modern mothers of derby) Joulwan talks about her discovery of derby, addiction, the politics of the early team, dissolution of the old group and the formation on the current democratic derby teams and leagues. Interspersed with the usual derby fun, bruises and bashing and back-stabbing politics, are accounts of more memorable bouts. Here and there are mentions of ou ...more
Susan
Very cool book - the new beginning and the ongoing story of Roller Girls. Found out I actually know a woman who does this, so HAD to read the book! Its great!
Amy Gonzalez
Melissa "Melicious" Joulwan describes the history of roller derby and how it evolved into what it is today. She also discusses the history of Austin roller derby, why we have two leagues, and the difference between the leagues. In addition, she describes what it's like to be a derby girl, how to come up with your derby personality, and the formation of the WFTDA (Women's Flat Track Derby Association). There were several bouts she described in great detail as well, and I was in suspense the whole ...more
Ak
A fun and easy read, it tells the tale of the Texas Rollergirls inception, growth and trials. As a derby widower and volunteer it was, at times, all too reminiscent of the growing pains the Detroit league experienced, and I imagine every league must go through. I remember setting it down several times and saying aloud "wow, that's exactly what happened to us!" Overall, it was a quick and entertaining tale punctuated by some lists (I was thrilled to see one of the names I thought up in there as a ...more
Jessica
Roller Derby, as seen and described by Melicious! Wow did I get into this book. Each bout was so exciting (and well written), I felt I was there and even caught myself biting my nails! It was interesting to learn about the sport itself (its history, its decline in popularity, its rebirth in American culture, etc…). But this book was about so much more. It was about women who found a passion and followed it. Just like any passion, they found roadblocks in their way, but together they pushed them ...more
Chrissy
When Melissa Joulwan saw her first roller derby bout way back in 2001, she was immediately hooked. Having just moved to Austin and looking for ways to reinvent herself, the chance to become Melicious, a roller derby powerhouse, seemed like the answer to her prayers. Little did she know what she — and the rest of the world — was in for.

As a sport that had come in and out of fashion since the Great Depression, roller derby was all but dead when a gang of girls from Austin, Texas got ahold of it. T
...more
Debbie
Aug 17, 2008 Debbie rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: roller derby fans and skaters
Roller derby is back, but very different from the banked track derby that many people remember from the 70's. The reimagination of derby as a flat track, skater-run sport started with a single league in Texas in 2003. Today, there are leagues of smart, strong women all over the country ready and willing to step into their skates and knock a bitch down.

A fascinating history of flat track roller derby, starting with the founding of the Texas Rollergirls in 2003, and continuing through the Dust De
...more
Marquel
I LOVED this book and I am so pumped for Roller Derby tryouts at the end of October. Melissa Joulwan, A.K.A. Melicious, of the Hotrod Honeys (Texas Rollergirls league) was a founding member and helped to bring back the spectacle of the 1970s. Only this time, it's not a spectacle.

Joulwan discusses how she found roller derby. She had quit her corporate job and moved to Austin, Texas with her boyfriend to start over. They were at a coffee shop in South Austin where people staple posters/advertiseme
...more
Casey
Such a fun book! I read this in preparation for meeting the author this weekend - I already read her blog The Clothes Make the Girl, and cook from her cookbook Well Fed, so I figured I should complete the triad.

Melissa has such a positive attitude about life, and that extends to her views on roller derby. Even though it sounds like some bad $hit went down in Austin in the early days, she never used the real names of the women involved, and she didn't dwell on the situation or go into all the dir
...more
Krista
Updated: Now that I am actually playing roller derby, I reread this one. It serves as a good introduction, but glosses over a lot of what went down during the beginning of the derby revival. This one is still a good introduction, but if you seriously want to know about derby I would probably read a few of the other books after this one and maybe a couple of the documentaries that are out there.

*******************************
Aug-2010: Great book if you like Roller Derby. It's basically a collecti
...more
Bethany
Jan 11, 2012 Bethany rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone
Recommended to Bethany by: Dee Stortion, #1 Louder, NH Roller Derby
Want to know about the Roller Derby revolution of today? Want to know how the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA) was formed? Want to just read an awesome true story?
Pick up the Rollergirl now!!!

Mellissa 'Melicious' Joulwan (#11), one of the God Mother’s of Flat Track Roller Derby, does a wonderful job of telling how it all began in Austin Texas. Her tales, both horrific and heartwarming, take you through her and other skater's experiences at the beginning right up to the first Interlea
...more
Kyle
Melicious describes the beginning of the current Flat Track Roller Derby craze in Austin, Texas, and how she herself became a rollergirl. The great Austin roller derby schism resulted in there being two leagues: the Texas Roller Girls and the Texas Roller Derby Lonestar Roller Girls (which soon became a banked track league). Goes into the politics and cat-fighting, the development of the athletic side of the sport, the popularity and amazing growth of it across the nation over the course of a fe ...more
Jeremy
I was lucky enough to buy my copy straight from Ms. Joulwan herself. While many people already think they know what roller derby is like, and what rollergirls are like, this book will help open alot of eyes. While many traits are shared among many rollergirls, there are also young, old, doctors, mothers, bankers, lawyers, teachers, rock stars, and Jesus freaks. No one label can be put on any one group, and these book help to expell alot of myths. It is also an entertaining read about the creatio ...more
Brianna
This book has a great point of view from one of the girls who helped begin flat track derby along with a nice history lesson about derby before flat track.

It is a fun read with lots of action and excitement, as well as adorably awesome bios of some of the rollergirls from different teams.

Melissa "Melicious" Joulwan is en extremely talented writer and I would love to hear about more Tales from the Track through her point of view.
Amanda
Good overview of the history of the modern derby revival from someone who was there as it happened. A bit over the top in sections as far as dramatic bout recaps, and constantly being reminded that these girls are "like, so bad ass" but overall a pretty good intro to the sport as it is played today. I just started skating for the Ohio Roller Girls and I would recommend this to anyone interested in knowing the sport a bit more.
Ali
Jul 06, 2007 Ali rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: roller derby fans
some of this book is really cool- her experiences getting started in derby, the inside dirt on all the politics of the texas league, etc. some fun blurbs, 'what's your roller girl personality' kind of stuff. some of it might get boring for non-hardcore derby fans. some lengthy play-by-play bout descriptions. still not done with it though, she's starting to lose my interest toward the end.

meh. i gave up. not finishing this one.
Kait
This was a fun look into roller derby. It followed the story of Melicious from her first time on the track and her experiences with the Texas Rollergirls and the establishment of the sport it is today. It gives the history along with explaining the rules, suggestions for coming up with derby names, and fun side stories about various players. Fun read if you ever wanted to know a bit more about flat track roller derby.
Stephanie
Rollergirl is a scintillating look at the fast and furious new breed of DIY flat track roller derby. Rollergirls the world over will recognize in Melicious's tale their own joyful firsts and harsh growing pains, while fans get a first-rate inside peek at the wild world of roller derby from the other side of the blue line. A must read for anyone who ever dreamed of strapping on skates over fishnets--or already has.
Becki Chiasson
I've been on a roller derby kick for a while, and this book was pretty satisfying. It was interesting to hear about the origins of the sport and the split between the first two roller derby leagues. The prose isn't anything to write home about, but Melicious does a good job keeping my interest and writing with a passion for the sport.
Holly Neal
FANTASTIC book covering the origins and evolution (and fun) of the re-establishment of roller derby by one of it's founding members. Funny, tough, inspiring for any woman, rollergirl or not.

A MUST read for derby fans - and for any woman who wants to go out and do exactly what she wants to do in her life.
Kendra
Mar 11, 2008 Kendra rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: rollergirls, roller derby fans, tough fun loving chicks
Recommended to Kendra by: Miss Melicious herself!
This book is a close as you can get withour strapping on the skates. Melicious has done a great job giving her readers an inside look at the drama only rollergirls can do so well. As a fellow rollergirl I appreciate her passion and she even had me close to tears of joy in some parts.
Elly
I read this book to find out more about modern roller derby, but I feel like this isn't really what was advertised - it's more about old school derby and all the gimmicks that go along with it. I thought it would be a book about the sport rather than the spectacle.
Natalie
Sep 09, 2009 Natalie rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Derby fans
This book was great. It was really interesting to hear about the beginnings of derby and hear the personal stories. I could feel the thrill and excitement. There were a few dry parts in the middle, and it kind of ended abruptly, but I really loved this book a lot.
Shannon
Tales from the Texas Rollergirls. One and a half chapters in, I'm already wondering: where do I sign up? Now I just need to learn how to skate (details) and get a name. Faves from the book: Ivanna S. Pankin, Miss Conduct, and La Coneja of the Putas del Fuego.
Dayna Noffke
This is a silly, quick read but a lot of fun. Better yet, my friend's names are mentioned in the list of the author's favorite rollergirl monikers. If you love derby, you'll enjoy it but if not, it's probably not worth your time.
Kate
Interesting read, especially the part about the two leagues in Austin. I saw the movie Hell on Wheels (which is an awesome doc) and the author took part in the beginning of the revival of roller derby.
Mari hernandez
Aug 01, 2007 Mari hernandez rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: all Rollergirls, roller derby enthusiasts, my grandma, an everyone else in the world!
Melissa has put a face on roller derby for the masses. This witty read makes a rollergirl feel like she is part of a true revolution and connects leagues and women across the world.
sniffle...sniffle....
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122669
Melissa Joulwan's favorite vegetable is cauliflower, and she has an abiding affection for Japanese sweet potatoes. Her favorite spice is cumin. Her favorite book is Jane Eyre. Her favorite city is Prague, and her favorite band is Social Distortion. You might have known all of that already if you follow her blog The Clothes Make The Girl.

She was shocked to realize recently that she's now the author
...more
More about Melissa Joulwan...
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