November 17, 2012

Book Review: J.R. Jeremy Roenick's Autobiography

Jeremy Roenick, one of the premier hockey players of his generation and one of the greatest American stars the NHL has ever known, shares his life story in this frank and unflinching autobiography - J.R.

 Buy The Book - Amazon.ca - Chapters - Amazon.com

After making his debut as an 18-year-old with the Chicago Blackhawks, Roenick thrilled fans with his flashy style, take-no-prisoners approach, and jaw-dropping skills. A native of Boston, Roenick went on to play for four more franchises—including the Philadelphia Flyers and Los Angeles Kings—during his incredible 18-season career. By the time he was through, Roenick had racked up 513 goals—the second most of any American-born player—and 703 assists.

Now a tells-it-like-it-is commentator for NBC and the NHL, Roenick takes readers on a behind-the-scenes, warts-and-all tour through his illustrious career, both on and off the ice. Written with Kevin Allen.

My take - Oh good ol' J.R. Either you love him or hate him. If you love him, you'll love this book. I'll admit I was always impressed with Jeremy Roenick the hockey player, but the ego I've never cared for. Since that personality is front and center in his book, I wanted to be open about that before presenting my review.

Essentially Roenick is the American version of Don Cherry. Hey, it works for Grapes - he has bestselling books as part of his hockey empire. Roenick is following in the footsteps, trading the colorful suits for bold shirts.

Roenick is sure to present his stereotypical self in his book. I think he is genuine in everything says, though he probably exaggerates for effect. He openly admits he is obnoxious  I would use the term unnecessarily controversial. He looks to rock the boat with this book - ask Patrick Marleau and Wayne Gretzky. Why? Book sales. Controversy sells everything, even hockey books. And in 2012 we've seen very little controversy on the hockey bookshelves, so J.R. gets lots of the headlines.

“The modern athlete has become too worried about saying anything that is going to rile up the other team,” Roenick writes. “Modern stars worry too much about being diplomatic. F— diplomacy.”

He uses locker room language whenever possible (parents beware) and that not to my liking personally. It screams typical jock book, which is perfectly fine because that's how many people like their hockey books.

Through all of the filibuster and other F-words are some good hockey stories. I especially enjoyed his comments on Mike Keenan ("the last great asshole coach") and his early days in the league. He is a fiercely proud American and some his stuff about the rivalry with Canada and the Olympics are great. And of course his endless clashes with rivals and teammates. He is still not holding back on some of these guys. Why he feels the need to call them out all over again is a moot point. Ultimately it is both interesting and disappointing at the same time. Too much of that though and it becomes tiring.

J.R.'s autobiography subtitle is "The Fast Crazy Life Of Hockey's Most Outspoken And Most Colorful Personality." The book definitely lives up to that billing. Love him or loathe him, Jeremy Roenick has a bestseller on his hands here.

Buy The Book - Amazon.ca - Chapters - Amazon.com


Anonymous said...

I have no doubt on the fact that I'm about to buy his book as soon as I find my wallet( my kids drive me nuts)

Unknown said...

amazing book, this guy was my idol growing up, didn't have the money to spend 35 bucks on a book, but after reading it at chapters for i couldn't stop and bought it. The book delivers, great book, buy it