I just finished reading this book a couple of days ago – I’m going to pass it off to Jen and Caitlin so they can write up their take on it as well.
Here’s the thing: Sometimes it’s hard being a girl and a hockey fan. I don’t want to lament about it, because it’s not the end of the world and I haven’t needlessly suffered or anything, but sometimes it’s hard. It’s especially hard to be respected and be a female fan. I’m of the opinion that there is absolutely nothing wrong with having crushes on players, in the same way that a teenage girl may have a crush on Justin Timberlake. It doesn’t make you a puckbunny, it doesn’t make you less respectable – it makes you human.
Lorna Jackson has written up an amazing view of the female hockey fan. I especially enjoyed the way it was written, as an autobiography rather than a critical assessment of the sport. Jackson has written her fair share of criticism, particularly towards the media and how they compare players to soldiers, and come playoff time, every game is a battle. One of my favorite parts of the book is when she gets the opportunity to head to the locker room after practice with sports reporters, to get some insight from the players for her book. She gives an incredibly honest account of it. Jackson is not a journalist, she’s a fiction writer, and she notices different things than most. She notices how the sweat drips off a player’s face, how a towel hangs loosely around their shoulders. She admits to being worried about her clothes and appearance before stepping into the room, and fretting about saying the wrong thing.
Being a Southern girl who grew up watching football with her father, I could relate to Jackson’s memories of watching hockey games with her own father growing up (he was a Habs fan, she a Bruins fan) . She recounts stories of her father throughout the book, along with stories of her daughter (a Jovanovski fan). All sorts of things can bring families together – for hers, it was hockey.
It’s not tremendously long – about 200 pages – but the text is small and the reading is intense. I never wanted to put it down. I toss my hat on the rink for Lorna Jackson’s touching, eye-opening, and heartfelt book.