September 8, 2013

The Kid Who Missed The Bus by Matt McCoy

Matt McCoy is a former pro hockey player turned first-time author. His 226 page novel, “The Kid Who Missed the Bus ” was released by Central Avenue Publishing earlier in 2013.

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The main character is Danny Boy Doyle - “the Real McCoy” - hinting that this is in part an autobiographical tale - an Irish born kid who ends up on British Columbia's north coast. He falls in love with the game of hockey, though he has more determination than skill. Still, he leaves home at 15 to play junior hockey, never getting close to the NHL. But he is able to get some college education and plays some pro hockey in some oddball places like England and Texas.

That all sounds pretty stereotypical but McCoy fills the gaps with good storytelling.  McCoy has an honest writing ability, which is obvious from the start. He is very detailed in his descriptions which helps to quickly capture the readers attention. From there it is a fast read with something to offer on nearly every page. It's great to see the quality of hockey fiction improving with authors like McCoy.

Ultimately this book is not so much about hockey, but the growth of a very interesting main character from a youth, to a cocky young hockey player, to a guy who makes a few mistakes along the way to the man he is today. It is a coming of age story that is generating a lot of buzz on in particular.

The stories do explore Danny Boy's affairs with women and alcohol. That's where the story gets a bit lewd and crude, and the writing does, too. The best way I've seen it described is uncomfortable. By no means are these storylines uncommon in a lot of young hockey players' worlds, especially for the players not on the NHL track. While there are lessons to be taken from these stories, beware buying this book for young adults or for readers who would rather just stay away from that.

Hockey, unlike baseball, has never really transcended the mainstream literary market. Sure there's lots of hockey biographies and photo-filled coffee table books and, dare I say it, colouring books. But only recently are we starting to see a serious crossover into other genres like fiction, mystery and even smut where hockey plays the supporting role. It is good to see another solid contribution to this growing marketplace.


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