Saturday, January 18, 2014

Review of "Tales of a First Round Nothing"

Most of the time we figure that a first round draft pick in any sport will go on to become a star.  As any fan knows, that isn't always the case.  One of those not-so-much-of-a-success stories turned his experiences into a book that will be published this spring.   Here is my review of that book written by Terry Ryan. 

“Tales of a First-Round Nothing: My Life as an NHL Footnote” by Terry Ryan

Ice hockey, autobiography, professional, Canadiens

Publish date (anticipated):
May 13, 2014

252 pages

3 of 5 stars (good)

Terry Ryan was supposed to take the National Hockey League by storm.  He was the eighth overall pick in the 1995 NHL Entry Draft and even better, he was selected by his favorite team, the Montreal Canadiens.  His career with the team may not have been what he hoped it would be on the ice, but he took with it great memories.   That is evident as he shares many entertaining stories in this memoir.

The book covers every aspect of Ryan’s playing days, from his time in youth hockey to the junior leagues to his many stops in professional hockey.   In each one, he has plenty to say about his teammates, coaches, and life in general.

While reading this book, it should be noted that Ryan does not follow a strict timeline.  He will at times skip back to a funny incident prior to the chapter in his career that he talks about.  He never comes across as angry or bitter.  A good example would be his memory of certain coaches or teammates with whom he did not get along.   While there could have been some trouble with those people then, he writes about them and his interactions with them with respect.  Given that many of these interactions occurred as a young age, this is something that is very commendable.

Speaking of youth, many of these stories would be the type you would expect from young men who are learning the ways of the world.  Yes, there are plenty of stories about drinking, picking up women and partying.  But there are also some serious thoughts as well, and this shows how much this time of his life means to him now.

This is not to say there are no hockey passages in the book.  They are plentiful as well, and some of them are downright funny.  I chuckled at the story of during Ryan’s first encounter with Tie Domi, the well-known fighter for the Toronto Maple Leafs.   As a rookie trying to impress his coaches and also to fulfill a promise made to some hometown buddies, he ASKED Domi to fight him during an exhibition game.   Ryan wasn’t disappointed as Domi did so on the very first shift of the game.    

All of these stories are woven together to make for an entertaining read.  By the end of the book, I was glad to see it come to a conclusion as they were starting to all be jumbled together in my mind and some felt like they were similar to others with different characters.  Despite this, I do believe that a hockey fan who enjoys stories about the players’ antics off the ice will especially like this book. 

I wish to thank NetGalley for providing a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

Did I skim?

Pace of the book: 
Good.  It moved along well and was a fairly quick read.  For me, it started to drag near the end, but overall it was a good read.

Do I recommend? 
Yes, if the reader is looking for a book with personal stories and recollections. This book has plenty of entertaining stories. If you are looking for a book that is more about hockey or the career of a player, this may not be the one you want to read.    

Book Format Read:
EBook (Kindle)

Buying Links:

None at the time of this review.

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