Alec Haudepin is 23 years old and ever since he can remember he has dreamed of playing for the All Blacks. Alec has struggled with his sexuality for as long as he can remember, while growing up in rural New Zealand at a rugby-obsessed high school, but as he’s got older it’s been harder to deny. His life is complicated further by blame his parents have put on him when his brother Mark was killed in a farm bike accident, which led eventually to their separation.
When Alec is selected to play rugby for his province, his dream of being an All Black is so near. The one problem he has is his temper, which is fueled further by alcohol. He comes close to it blowing up in his face, so down on his drinking and managing his temper becomes a number one priority.
Alec lives in an apartment building at which a new arrival attracts his attention; Jackie and her troubled son Maxim.
In the era Alec participated in the sport, the male fraternity would not tolerate or contemplate that homosexuality could ever co-exist. Covering his frustration with alcohol just exacerbated the problem.
With the enlightenment that has come with time I am surprised to still not be aware of any openly gay rugby players playing for provincial or national rugby teams. I daresay – I hope – this is only a matter of time.
I found Broken Play a compelling read and wish to thank this first-time author Nicholas Sheppard for writing such a book.
Reviewed by Christine Frayling
by Nicholas Sheppard
Published by RSVP Publishing