This month's book (or should I say October's) was one that I was drawn to mostly because I knew a new biography was coming out. A biography that I wasn't sure would ever be written or released. The subject being a very personal, and reclusive superstar.
This was a book that has been sitting on my shelf for quite some time and I am really happy to be able to now say that I have read it.
Searching For Bobby Orr
To many, Bobby Orr the greatest hockey player ever to lace up the skates. To most, he's in the top five. To me, he went up the list after reading this book.
In what would definitely be considered an agonizing career, shortened by knee injuries, Bobby had a talent that far exceeded his peers of the time. He is one of very few to have truly changed the game. Evolving it and revolutionizing it. He had talent that was noticed at such an early age and his path to stardom in the NHL was all but guaranteed by the time he could legally drive a car.
Yet it's the person himself that most people don't know anything about. He rarely (if ever) let the outside world in for people to see what he was really like. And while Searching For Bobby Orr doesn't accomplish this...it gives us probably our best snapshot.
note: Bobby Orr was approached by Stephen Brunt regarding this book but declined to participate. He also asked that family and friends not be approached either. Stephen Brunt respected his wishes.
Searching For Bobby Orr felt more like a story of atmospheres and landmarks. Scene sets and circumstances. All with Bobby Orr deep in the mix. While we never get in depth with Bobby's life or career at any given point, the path the book takes gives one a very good sense of how his life growing up and hockey career progressed.
Events like his signing with Boston (he was never drafted....the Entry Draft didn't exist at the time), his ascension to the top of the league both in scoring and with a pair of Stanley Cups. His chronic knee problems, his omission from the 1972 Canadian team that battled the Russians. His betrayal by then agent Alan Eagleson and eventual move to Chicago to end his career. It's all in there, but it lacks that first person account.
Stephen Brunt is a very good writer and he puts the story together in a very entertaining way. While it was a bit of a slow starter for me, his NHL story was one I really enjoyed. I would have loved to have learned more about the Eagleson relationship as it is to this day one that still irks Orr. (I hope in hie new autobiography, Bobby addresses it a little more bluntly).
For fans of hockey in the 70's, this would be a must read. For those of you who want to learn a bit about the greatest defenceman of all-time, pick this one up. It will give you a very good surface account of his career. It doesn't dive deep - but that's tough to do without the man himself getting involved.
3.5 out of 5