Friday, June 22, 2018

Review of "Searching for Terry Punchout"

It isn't often I can find a fictional hockey story aside from romances, so this short debut novel by Tyler Hellard was enticing to me.  It is one I recommend for everyone who likes hockey books, fictional or not, as it is a great quick read.  Here is my review of "Searching for Terry Punchout".

Searching for Terry Punchout” by Tyler Hellard

Ice hockey, fiction

Publish date:
October 15, 2018

160 pages

5 of 5 stars (outstanding)

When a story contains hockey, one last chance for redemption, a trip back home and some touching family moments, it is a story that is worth reading.  All of these and more are contained in Tyler Hellard’s excellent debut novel.

Adam Macallister returns from Calgary to his small home town in Nova Scotia to write a story for Sports Illustrated about the player who holds the NHL record for most penalty minutes in a career, nicknamed Terry Punchout.  His real name is Terry Macallister – Adam’s father. Between the time his career ended and the unplanned reunion with his estranged son, Terry has returned to his hometown and lived at the local rink where he works driving the Zamboni and on general maintenance of the rink.

On the trip back, Adam interviews his father and has many memories dredged up, both good and bad.  The reader will easily connect with Adam, not only for family matters but also when he reunites with his high school friends, a girl for whom he pined and now has a son, and his brief attempt at playing hockey again.  Terry is also a complex character and the reader will get into the mind of a hockey player who used to be considered an enforcer, even if fictional.

The story moves along nicely without going to fast or dragging along, making the reading very easy. Adam shares some interesting philosophical tidbits of life as well as comic lines.  One example of the funny side of the book is when Adam describes the phrase “out west”: “Out west is the very specific term people on the east coast apply to everything between Toronto and Japan.”  For an example of his philosophical views, try this one: “…I had to work out my own world view. What I came up with was this: everything in life is pass or fail.”

The story has a very interesting conclusion as well that will leave the reader satisfied and yet with questions at the same time.  It is a story that is recommended for readers who enjoy hockey fiction, stories of family and of memories.  It was certainly one of the best hockey fiction books I have read.

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

Book Format Read:
E-book (Kindle)

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