November 14, 2010

Tough Guy by Bob Probert with Kirstie McLellan Day

It is not often a book's prologue is entitled The Last Chapter. It is even less often those first 12 or so pages puts you through such an emotional roller-coaster that you may have to put the book down to catch your breath when you are done reading it!

That's how Tough Guy: My Life On The Edge by Bob Probert with Kirstie McLellan Day, starts out. And it only gets better.

Buy The BookAmazon.ca - Chapters - Amazon.com

In that opening prologue Kirstie McLellan Day recreates Bob Probert's dying moments with such clarity it is as if you are right there on the boat too and it is happening all over again. The wide range of emotions I experienced while reading this passage was as amazing as any 12 pages I have ever read in any book. I was left bewildered and exhausted as she described the horrible and frantic moment. I was heartbroken for his wife. I was absolutely horrified at the thought of his children witnessing it all. I was angry with his friends who, try as they might, could do nothing. I found myself cheering with hope as another boater arrived to help save the life of one of my hockey heroes. But it was not meant to be. After just 12 pages I was left distraught and exhausted. I wanted to help so bad, knowing that I would have been every bit as helpless as everyone on that boat on that terrible day.

What I am trying to say is this book has one hell of an intro.

You will undoubtedly recognize the name Kirstie McLellan Day. She wrote Theo Fleury's autobiography Playing With Fire. She has another epic here with Bob Probert's Tough Guy: My Life On The Edge. She very well may be the best writer in hockey right now.

This book project was in the works before Probert suddenly died this summer. The Probert family decided to see the project through to the finish. Steve Yzerman and Probert's wife Dani Probert provide emotional forewords.

After the moving prologue, the book turns to Bob's voice. It is very much a stark contrast to the prologue, as Day is careful to let Bob's true voice and character to tell his own story. It is very raw and candid, on the edge just like the way he lived life. Turbulent would definitely be the one word summary of Probie's life.

It takes a bit to warm up to Probert, as you realize right from an early age he was a bad ass - on and off the ice. But Probert tells all - the drugs, the alcohol, the rehab and prison sentence, and of course the hockey - without ever apologizing for who he is.

A funny thing happens as you read this book. You find yourself warming to Probert, and then pulling for him, even though we all know the tragic story from the on-set. Behind all the drugs, booze and legal headlines, you come to realize exactly what everyone of his teammates will tell you - that Probert was a great guy who loved his family and was unfailingly loyal to his friends. We all could only hope to know a person as warm and as good as Bob Probert.

The memoir features 50 photographs, many of them never seen before. Also of interest is a listing of Probert's career fight card - 11 pages long!

Despite his death, his wife Dani and biographer Kirstie McLellan Day saw the project through to completion. It was Bob's wish for his story to be told in his words, as his kids were reaching an age where they would soon learn about his sordid past.

Here's the specs:
  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Ltd (Oct 26 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1443404616
  • ISBN-13: 978-1443404617
Here's more from the publisher, Harper Collins:

During a notorious career with the Detroit Red Wings and the Chicago Blackhawks, Bob Probert racked up points, penalty minutes and bar bills, establishing himself as one of the most feared enforcers in the history of the NHL. On the ice, he was a fan favourite. He backed up his teammates one hundred percent, takin

g on the toughest guys of his era. Off the ice, Probert played hard too. Over his pro career he went through ten stays in rehab, two NHL suspensions, a jail sentence for carrying cocaine across the border and a near fatal motorcycle crash. When he died unexpectedly of a heart attack on July 5, 2010, at the age of forty-five, he was hard at work on his memoir with Kirstie McLellan Day, co-author with Theo Fleury of the blockbuster Playing with Fire. Probert wanted to tell his story in his own words to set the record straight.

Tough Guy is a gripping journey, full of jaw-dropping stories about Bob’s on-ice battles and his reckless off-ice encounters with drugs, alcohol, customs officials, police, courts and the NHL. Probert’s opponents often feared him, but they always respected the man beneath the bloodied jersey. With his unique sense of humour and inside stories, Probert gives us a first-hand account of his adrenalin-fuelled life as the toughest fighter in the NHL.

Buy The BookAmazon.ca - Chapters - Amazon.com

2 comments:

brian February 23, 2011 at 4:55 PM  

Bob. Was A Great Player. May Have Had Some Problems. Although He Was A Great Husband And A Wonderfull Da. All I Can Say. We All Miss Him. BEN.

Mark August 18, 2013 at 10:44 PM  

I got this book for christmas last year, well written.Probie will be sorley missed.

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