Today (Thursday night, really) is my birthday. I share it with Claude Giroux and we won’t talk about the years in between I and the All-Star superstar ginger. It’s the first big snow here in Illinois and I’m driving down to Nashville tomorrow (Friday the 13th, oh dear) to see the Preds and Flyers play in Music City. A very full couple of days.
I have been racking my brain on why I, an English teacher, English nerd and voracious reader, am having a heck of a time finishing The Final Call by Kerry Fraser. It is not an exceptionally long book (less than 300 pages) and it’s about HOCKEY, for goodness sake. I should be breezing through it like a crazy person. But I’m not. Yeah, I’m busy, but I tend to read before I sleep, so why not this book?
I think I figured it out.
There are too many names. Yeah, I’m a newbie and my hockey history knowledge could fill a thimble, but I like learning stuff. But there are so many names that Mr. Fraser drops in this book.
I’m not saying that he’s doing it for reasons that most people name-drop (wanna hear about the celebrities I served coffee to in L.A.? kidding.), but it’s overwhelming. I can’t follow who’s who and who’s related to who. I mentioned in a previous review of this that Mr. Fraser jumps timelines in this and that confuses the heck out of me too. 2010 to 1985 to sometime in between and my brain can only handle so much after a full day of work.
It’s a lot of anecdotes. Which is great because these are stories from behind the scenes that most of us everyday people will never see. But sometimes I read a short little tidbit and I’m like…’okay, so what was the point of that?’ The final chapters that I’m on are divided into certain teams. I’ve read about the Devils, the Avs, the Leafs, the Habs…and yeah, it’s a little hard to keep myself interested.
However, with all these grievances, I repeat that I’m not a lifelong hockey fan. I don’t know anything about the 80s/90s/00s of hockey (jeez, I’m a baby). I’m also trying to read through this book quickly in order to review promptly for you guys. I think a book like this, with so much information, needs to be savored. You pick it up, read a couple of anecdotes and close it to enjoy a trip into a different time of hockey. Let the names, the deeds, the games marinate in your brain awhile before you continue.
So, I’m still trucking along in this, trying to make sense of all the names and games and dates (kind of like a history textbook) as I go. I’ll get through it eventually, but for now, I’m going to savor a win against the Islanders (thank you Sergei Bobrovsky) and look forward to wearing my Giroux sweater on Saturday as Preds fans probably tease me some about it, but we all enjoy a good game of hockey and I get the chance to soak in the majesty of a game I’m still learning to understand and appreciate.