Monday, December 27, 2010

BOOK: King Leary by Paul Quarrington

King Leary by Paul Quarrington, 232 pages

4th Canadian Book Challenge; 2nds Book Challenge (finished!)

King Leary won Canada Reads in 2008, and was previously awarded the Stephen Leacock Medal for Humor in 1988. It is a humorous look back on the life of King Leary, famous hockey player. Leary narrates the hard luck story of his early life, the awesome hockey player he was, and his friendship with two childhood friends. Lots of booze, lots of hockey, lots of old man reminiscing. Loosely based on King Clancy of the Leafs I believe, it was a classic "old man reminiscing book" - back and forth between present and past, present events bring up old happenings, and some weird coincidences keep the story moving.

Leary was fun, and funny - he gets drunk on Canada Dry, and this was a good, Canadian read. I liked how he called the Maple Leafs  'the Leaves' and how he gradually comes to admire the newest hotshot hockey player. Manny Ozkean, his childhood friend, was a sad story of alcoholism, which just shows that there have always been young gifted athletes who waste their talents on addictions. Quarrington has a wonderful way with the turn of the phrase, which elevates this "old man reminiscing book," in my books.

Nowadays they got something called "powerskating." ... it was just hardstepping, which I been doing since I was born. Here's what you do. You puff up your spirit till it won't fit into your body anymore. You get your feet to dance across the icebelly of the world. You get empty except for life and the winter wind. p12