Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The Over-Educated Hockey Fan: A Book Review, "Hockey and High Heels"

I started reading Lisa Oven's "Hockey and High Heels" with hopes that it would be THE HOCKEY BOOK that spoke to the wishes and dreams of Hloggers worldwide. Instead, it turned out the be more like Hockey as Written By The Shallow Bimbos You Hated in High School.

Ovens starts off by declaring her good intentions-following the Vancouver Canucks for a season, but never gets past her insistence on going back to the being the ditzy scattered capitalistic female who sees any sporting event as an excuse to buy something of show off new acquisitions. Essentially, Ovens plays into the girly-fan stereotype that plagues hockey women the world over. She exclaims over how getting her hair done is her pre-game ritual (just like the players!) and shows off her new Prada purse to obnoxious and un-useful sidekick 'Stacie'.

By letting readers know off the bat that she can afford things like partial-season NHL tickets, Prada bags, and mid-season jaunts from British Columbia to Florida, Ovens also alienates those of her readers who don't share her ability to throw money at what for her seems like just a fun, giggly diversion. As much as I'd love to sit in the lower bowl for NHL games, I have to face facts: I have to eat. By rubbing her unexplained wealth in my face (What does she DO, anyway?) Ovens just makes me resent her as one of those people who throw money at something for the status they think it may bring them.

This view of Ovens as status-seeker is further bolstered when she dubs herself "hockey ambassador" to Florida while simultaneously admitting she knows very little about the game. At the end of the book she looks back and says "I guess we only covered one rule in the whole book... oops!" While this keeps her from running into the territory of The Girlfriend's Guide to Hockey, it also proves her ignorance when it comes to the game itself. Between this and the episode in which she exclaims over not knowing what constituted a puckbunny, she consistently undermines what little authority she gathered previously. Of course, handing her the mantle of "authority" is stretching it as well, when the format of the book presents perhaps two pages of hockey, hockey game or hockey related insight for every six pages of obnoxious and repetitive dialogue between Ovens and her sidekick on non hockey topics.

Overall, Hockey and High Heels reads as would a self centered and poorly written blog, dealing occasionally with hockey. Regretfully, because other women more involved more closely with the game (bloggers, sportscasters, etc) have not yet come out with their own interpretations of being a female fan, Ovens' pitifully weak and ridiculously un-insightful memoir of her single season with hockey is given the most weight among all womens' voices.

(In short, it's enough to make me call my thesis "Hockey and Sensible Shoes" just in attempt to wrest some of the female-fan power back away from this vapid woman.)

(cross-posted to Hockey's Ladies of Greatness.)


Nadine said...

"Made of Fail" - I love that label!

I haven't been able to make myself read this one. (Normally, hockey books are a must-read.) In interviews, Ovens has mentioned releasing your inner cheerleader and I guess that turns me off the book (and subsequently, her perspective as a hockey fan) right there.

It's possible I'd feel differently meeting her in person but I feel it would take a great effort to counteract the "ick" factor.