There is a small niche-within-a-niche-within-a-niche family of books; so far, I have read 3 different âI'm going to compare and contrast MY life with that of my favorite hockey player while I was growing upâ. Stephen Brunt's âSearching for Bobby Orrâ was about the title subject, with the âauthor biographicalâ information basically about the writing of the book WHILE the book is actually in progress. (Imagine one of those first-person narratives from a noir detective movie, without the 40s dialogue.) David Ward's âThe Lost 10 Point Night: Searching For My Hockey Hero â¦ Jim Harrisonâ takes things further; while the book is primarily about the title subject, the author also includes information about his search for the hockey player and about his own life.
âKeon and Meâ, by Dave Bidini, continues this trend and extends / stretches it. Mr. Bidini, an accomplished hockey writer, compares his life growing up in the Toronto area with the career of famed Toronto Maple Leaf captain Dave Keon. Keon had a reputation as being the most gentlemanly player in the National Hockey League, a man who was not afraid of the physical contact inherent in hockey but was never the aggressor. Bidini, as a boy, found himself bullied. He muses as to how he can deal with the situation â live his own life without interference, much as Keon does on the ice.
Keon has also earned a reputation as the most enigmatic and intensely private individuals to have played in the National Hockey League. He has avoided the spotlight, post-career, despite attempts to get him to return to Toronto for team ceremonies â and despite attempts to get him to sit down for interviews. Bidini's book also describes his personal quest to get in contact with Keon, partly in order to complete his book, but also to tell him what a big influence his behavior was to him as a young lad.
In effect, we have 3 interwoven books under this cover: A biography of Dave Keon, a biography of Dave Bidini, and a journalistic âhow I did itâ book. This is the book's greatest strength. This is also the book's greatest weakness. I purchased this book to finally learn about the life of Dave Keon. Unfortunately, the book did not provide a lot of information on this topic that I hadn't already read in hockey fan magazines from the 1960s and 70s while growing up. While Mr. Bidini has a gift for writing, and I'm sure is a fine and upstanding man, I had not especially wanted to devote that much of my time (and funds) into reading about HIS life, at least not at the point when I grabbed this book off my TBR pile.
So, I am left with a quandary. How DO I accurately rate a book that accomplishes its goal, and does so in a quality manner â BUT left me feeling empty and wishing I'd purchased that OTHER book I'd been tempted to grab on the store shelf? In the end â¦ my review, my opinion, so how I felt is how I must go.
RATING: 3 1/2 stars, rounded up to 4 stars where 1/2 stars are not permitted.