A Book Worth Saving for Your Reading List

[Admin note: Frustrated with her husband’s snail-pace reading speed, Mrs. Gustafsson stole the following book from him, read it, and provided this review — before Gustafsson would have made it past the second chapter.]
The summer season is rapidly approaching and many travelers will be compiling a list of books to read while on vacation. The hockey fan should consider Saved, by Jack Falla. It follows the season of Jean Pierre Savard, a goalie for the Bruins and his quest to win the Cup as his career is winding down. There are no surprises here but the book is loaded with hockey history and behind the scenes looks at the life of a professional hockey player. Falla covered the NHL for many years for Sports Illustrated and he brings the reader into the locker room, the rink and lives of these fictional characters.
At first Jean Pierre (JP) appears to be the main character as the first thirty pages focus on his background information, how he became a goalie and his college career then launches into present day. We are introduced to his best friend and teammate Cam Carter, get a glimpse of JP’s personal life which includes a Ferrari and a lot of sex, which should entice the male reader to pick up the book. However, as the book progresses the real main character becomes evident, the hockey culture and game. Hockey is all JP has ever known and as the end of his career looms, he is terrified by the prospect of not knowing what to do with the rest of his life. Three concussions during the season cannot deter him from his need to keep playing, even with a warning from his fianc?ɬ©e Faith McNeil, a former college classmate and hotshot basketball player, now a dotcom millionaire and doctor.
Gustafsson obviously has done a good job over the past eight years because I was familiar with the majority of the names, terms and events mentioned in the book and some basic hockey knowledge does make the book more pleasurable. Falla does provide a lot of detail, so that the new hockey fan will not be completely lost while reading this book. An example is the description of the Vezina Trophy. The reader learns for whom the trophy is named and why, and the details about Vezina’s final game and untimely death. Sports metaphors run amuck in the book, which at times was cumbersome to this reader. It may be a gender difference, as the book is told from a male point of view, because while a sports fan I certainly don’t answer every question directed to me with a sports reference.
As JP moves through his season and a trade from the Bruins, he gives details about the games he playing, what they mean during the different points of the season, what needs to happen for his Cup run to continue and how it feels to have someone else gunning for his job the entire time. Most readers cannot identify with being a professional athlete and being paid millions of dollars a year. But they can relate to being in their thirties, not knowing what to do next in their lives and struggling to hold onto their youth. This, coupled with the hockey history woven throughout the book makes it an enjoyable and quick read. (Provided the reader does not have a four year old and six month old vying for his or her attention.) As you pack your bags for the beach, mountains and beyond make sure you include Saved.

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4 Responses to A Book Worth Saving for Your Reading List

  1. uncatim says:

    Oh Mrs Gustafsson, how you disparage the sophisticated and cultured male reader! Sooo…um.. any pictures of sex on the Ferrari?

  2. Ferrari Fan says:

    This is the best I could do without getting OFB in trouble.

    Though a Google Image search without SafeSearch can be interesting.

  3. Anessa says:

    I agree Saved is a must-read. I recommended the book in Some Must Read Hockey Books. It’s been the best book I’ve read this summer.

  4. I might have to borrow that, if I ever have time to read again 🙂

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