Football as a Foil for Life: GAME ON by Tracy Solheim (Audio Review)



(An Game On CoverOut of Bounds Novel #1)
Berkley (Sensation), May 2013
304 pages Paperback
Audio CD Publisher: Tantor; MP3 – Unabridged CD edition (July 30, 2014)
Duration 9:49
Narrated by Charles Constant

Audio CD provided for review by Tantor Audio. No remuneration was exchanged and all opinions presented herein are my own except as noted.


Shane Devlin, known as the Devil of the NFL, has made a career of breaking records on the field and breaking rules off it. The son of a football icon who abandoned him as a child, Shane has spent a lifetime blackening his pedigree every opportunity he gets.  Now, in the waning stages of his career, another player’s freak accident gives him one last season to surpass his estranged father in the record books.  The road to the record books is not without pitfalls, however.

His new team comes not only with a moral code book chock full of rules, but a sexy staff member, who’s been charged with keeping Shane’s renegade reputation back in check.  In her job as assistant to the General Manger of a professional football team, Carly March is determined to make the best of it–even if it means dealing with arrogant jocks, their cunning bridezillas, and a stalking sportswriter.  After surviving a childhood played out in the tabloids, Carly just wants to fly below the radar and live a quiet life.  She has no intention of succumbing to the attraction of a brooding, hard-bodied quarterback.


square "my take"This is the first male narrated novel I listened to and let me just say that if this is an example of how women are voiced in audiobooks then I think men are better voiced by women, than women are by men. The women’s voices were simpering and stupid to my ear. I was painting and occasionally had to muffle a snort at the sound of the woman’s voice.

The story was enjoyable — complex with a bit of something for everyone: family, sacrifice, sports, fashion, hot sex, crazy stalkers.  I thought the story of two people with family issues and how one’s experience helps the other was unusual and brought a lot of emotional content to the novel.

The story of Shane, his father and his younger brother was really touching.  At first Shane seems a little inhuman in his inability to have any good thoughts about his father, and that seems like hyperbole.  I think the hyperbole is probably  a necessary device, but that and Shane’s standoffish demeanor, as well as his tendency to jump to conclusions, combine to make him a less than sympathetic character

What about Carly? Well, to my ears the narrator’s attempt to voice a woman with a subtle accent such as Carly is described as having made it hard for me to get a bead on her until the last quarter of the book where she shows what she is made of and the character becomes more than the voice of the narrator.

Looking at the story aside from the narration, Solheim creates flawed and human characters who, although famous, are accessible and make errors in how they handle each other.  I also like that their issues aren’t about communicating, but are more real issues (even though for most of us escaping the paparazzi is not a big issue).

The hook-ups are hot and steamy, the attraction is impossible to ignore. Nothing kinky goes on, but it is unmistakably sexy and powerful. It was funny when I was listening on earphones during a painting class. Yikes! Were my cheeks red! If the other ladies in the painting workshop could hear what I was we’d have had a collective hot flash!

I have since listened to another book narrated by a man where the woman as voiced was not how I think of our voices sounding. And, if that’s how a man thinks women sound he needs a hearing aid. Maybe men shouldn’t try so hard when voicing a woman.  I think female narrators usually do a better job voicing male characters, although I have noticed that when they do jocks the women often lean to the dumb-jock side of the scale while when men voice women they lean to the tentative,  Barbie or little girl sound.

Narrated Male Characters

I think the book is a good, heart-warming read. Listen to it with an ameliorating ear for the female characters and don’t write them off because of the narrator. There’s a lot more to the story than the narrator’s ability. I recommend the book whole-heartedly, but the narration not so much.
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