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Wednesday, 23 October 2013

TBC: The Lonely End Of The Rink

I'll be the first to admit that there are a pile of very entertaining hockey books out there. These are normally written by some very entertaining hockey players, but today's entry in Teebz's Book Club was written by a guy who hated hockey for a long, long time. While he eventually came around to love hockey again, Grant Lawrence's new book is incredibly funny and entertaining. Teebz's Book Club is proud to present The Lonely End Of The Rink, written by Grant Lawrence and published by Douglas and McIntyre Ltd. The story of Grant Lawrence is told from his childhood right through to his current life of being a CBC radio host on CBC Radio 3. The Lonely End Of The Rink will take through Mr. Lawrence's life, and you'll find yourself chuckling as you read about his (mis)adventures.

From his biography page, "Grant Lawrence hosts the popular CBC Radio 3 Podcast with Grant Lawrence, and Grant Lawrence Live on CBC Radio 3 and SiriusXM 152, and can also be heard on various CBC Radio One programs such as DNTO, All Points West and On The Coast. He is married to musician Jill Barber and lives in Vancouver, B.C." What that bio doesn't tell you is that Mr. Lawrence plays goaltender for the Vancouver Flying Vees, has a son named Joshua with his beautiful and talented wife, and is a die-hard Vancouver Canucks fan! Despite only playing ball hockey as a boy, Mr. Lawrence found the position of goaltending to be his favorite, and eventually turned that into a goaltending position on the ice!

There are some things about The Lonely End Of The Rink that will make it very easy to read. The chapters are relatively short, making it easy to read a pile of chapters at once or for one to read a chapter at a time easily when one may not have time. The book itself is broken up into three "periods" and an overtime "period" in terms of the different phases of Mr. Lawrence's life.

Mr. Lawrence's writing style is very casual and it feels as though you're listening to him tell stories at your local watering hole rather than reading through a text version of his life. There are a ton of pop culture references in the book, and they really bring together the images he's describing. Mr. Lawrence's working knowledge of music, books, and television make this book a treasure due to the references he makes. I now have a fantastic list of hockey music I wasn't even aware of before I read The Lonely End Of The Rink. Thank you, Mr. Lawrence, for this contribution in your book!

The story of Mr. Lawrence's childhood is one of bullying in that he was a youngster who was bullied by a larger kid named Buck. The torture endured by Mr. Lawrence endures at the hands of the much more physically-imposing Buck tugs at the reader's heart strings, but it really brings into perspective how bullying affects kids. With today's society focused on bullying and its effects on kids, Mr. Lawrence's writing in the "first period" about his childhood should help readers relate to effects of bullying as Mr. Lawrence works through his childhood into adolescence.

The "second period" features Mr. Lawrence taking us through his emerging musical talents and finding his "tribe" as he looks for acceptance in high school. He makes friends with an eclectic group of kids - including the infamous Nardwuar - while establishing a successful band called the Smugglers that toured all over Vancouver's indie scene. From playing local high school shows to expanding into colleges, bars, pubs, and various events all over North America, the Smugglers became an indie circuit favorite, launching the music careers of the five men in the band including Mr. Grant Lawrence.

The "third period" is all about Mr. Lawrence's adult life, and how his love for the game of hockey grew from a spark to a full-on inferno. Mr. Lawrence got pulled into playing ball hockey as an adult, and discovered that, as a CBC personality, a number of people he looked up to - Dave Bidini of the Rheostatics, for example - were participants in an exclusive hockey-loving club of musicians! From there, the Smugglers started recruiting players to form their own team. This collection of musicians from all walks of life would turn into the Vancouver Flying Vees!

The stories in The Lonely End Of The Rink about Mr. Lawrence's hockey-playing adventures are quite humorous, and there's a great story about him exacting revenge on one of the kids who bullied him earlier in the book. Through his musical interests, he found a tribe - the Flying Vees - and his own clan as he and musician Jill Barber fell in love and would eventually marry. And who doesn't love a happy ending?

Throughout the book, there is a running secondary story about the ups and downs of the Vancouver Canucks during Mr. Lawrence's life. It's funny to see how the success of the Canucks somewhat mirrored Grant's life in terms of the hills and valleys he experienced. The Canucks history coupled with Mr. Lawrence's stories about his own life make this book perfect for a fan like me since I happen to love hockey history and appreciate a good story.

I read through The Lonely End Of The Rink pretty quickly which is a testament to the writing employed by Mr. Lawrence. The book is funny, entertaining, and very easy to read. I highly recommend The Lonely End Of The Rink to any and all hockey fans. There is some PG-rated language in the book, but it is situational. If you're comfortable with this sort of language, this book would be suitable for teenagers and older.

I have to say that the stories in the book that spread across the book's 255 pages are fantastic, and
The Lonely End Of The Rink absolutely deserves the Teebz's Book Club Seal of Approval!

If you want to read more about Mr. Lawrence, you can check out his website at grantlawrence.ca. There is a ton of good stuff on there, including a link to his CBC Radio 3 podcasts, as well as his latest announcement for his book tour! Grab a copy of the book and have Mr. Lawrence sign it when he comes to your town!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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