Leaving MundaniaIt's easy to see why this book practically jumped off the library shelf at me.
For most of my adult life, I have been part of one or more communities that put on costumes and leave the real world behind. At different times it's taken different forms. It was in my early adulthood, pre-kid days that I participated in the form Lizzie Stark writes about in her book : larping. Larping started out as an acronym: Live Action Role Playing: but has since evolved into a word in it's own right.
Back in the day, I used to play Vampire The Masquerade (in case you were wondering, I was a Gangrel) I had custom fit, dental grade fang caps made (I still have them) and spent hours at a local game store developing my character. When I started making babies, it became next to impossible to do those things, but when my youngest child was 6 weeks old I went to my first Renaissance Faire. I didn't go in costume that first year, but I soon started collecting garb for myself and my children. Later, about 5 years ago, I joined our local Starfleet International group (which feels like a form of larping; we put on uniforms and play ourselves-in the Star Trek future)Then, three years ago, I took my younger two kids to our first ComicCon. The next year my daughter and I went to the first Geek Girl Con , and she never misses out on a chance to put on a costume. And then there s the low key larping my youngest child and I do as we walk along- usually some amalgamation of Skyrim and whatever TV show is striking his fancy.
As Ms Stark discovers in the course of researching her book, putting on a costume and the persona that goes with it can be cathartic , freeing, and can help some people cope with the stresses of life. The book looks at the history of larp, and the differing forms it takes in the US and in the Scandinavian countries (where larpers can apply for government grants) . Not only is "Leaving Mundania" a wonderfully affirming book for those of us who larp or cosplay, it would be a great read for anyone who thinks we're crazy, Satan worshippers, or perpetual children.