ROLLER BABES: 1950s Women of Roller Derby by Tim Patten (Review by #NerdGirlJulie)


Title: ROLLER BABES: 1950s Women of Roller Derby

Author:  Tim Patten 

Published Date: November 18th 2015

Genre: Historical Fiction


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Roller Babes honors the women of 1950s professional roller derby: indomitable athletes who inspired millions to find independence and freedom in the world of sports. Their soaring aspirations, hard-won accomplishments, and turbulent melees have all been documented in the annals of history. Come into the secret world of these early skaters. These legendary women were set apart by exceptional grit, and remembered by thousands of fans around the globe.

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***#NerdGirlJulie’s  Review***
Whether you grew up watching roller derby (live or televised) or you’ve never heard of it before, you’ll enjoy Roller Babes by Tim Patton. This work of historical fiction begins in the 1940s when the nation is still feeling the impact of the Great Depression. The hunger born of that difficult time fires the young women in Roller Babes to take chances and do whatever is needed to provide for their families.

Lottie is a tomboy who loves playing stickball with the neighborhood boys. She wisecracks with the best of them, but inside she is fragile. She silently suffers the verbal and physical abuse the boys dish out. Her family struggles to put food on the table, and she is motivated to find a way to contribute. Her friend Elsie Mae is a girly-girl who wishes to find fame and fortune in Hollywood. Rebecca needs to get away from her “touchy-feely” father, and she is game to try anything that will get her out of his reaches. The girls suffer the dormitory/shelter type accommodations and the grueling workouts in order to participate on a “minor league” roller derby team. Lottie is the only one who makes it big time.

The behind the scenes look at roller derby is very interesting. The women who participated in the sport were fierce competitors on and off the track. Along with the physically demanding sport, there is a lot of showmanship to garner attention from the crowds. Real and fake assaults on the track bring in the paying customers and attention from the press. Beyond the demands of the sport, these women faced enormous prejudice while on the road competing. They had to battle racial slurs, accusations of homosexuality, and assumptions about their moral integrity. Through it all, Lottie remains true to her friends and teammates. The pinnacle of her career is competing in her hometown with her family and childhood friends in the stands.

I enjoyed the brash, larger-than-life characters and the life on the roller derby circuit as well as a glimpse into a mid-20th century life in general. Roller Babes is an enjoyable historical fiction novel for almost any age group.


***Review has been done in conjunction with Nerd Girl Official. For more information regarding our reviews please visit our Fan Site:***


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