AMAZONS: An Intimate Memoir by the First Woman Ever to Play in the National Hockey League by Cleo Birdwell

AMAZONS: An Intimate Memoir by the First Woman Ever to Play in the National Hockey League

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KIRKUS REVIEW

There have certainly been enough athlete memoirs in recent years to fuel a genuine send-up of the genre--but this overextended put-on doesn't even try for parody, settling instead for the most predictable sort of effortfully breezy satire/sex-farce. Narrator Cleo has risen up from her mock-sweet small-town Ohio childhood to become the first woman rookie in the League--with the New York Rangers--despite all opposition, despite ""her poor, floppy, delicate breasts"" (the subject of interminable chatter). But strangely enough, Cleo seems very little concerned with the sport itself here (there's brief reference only to a few super-bloodthirsty games), concentrating instead on a string of great-looking but neurotic men. There's ultra-Yalie Sanders Meade, new president of Madison Square Garden, who's rendered impotent by mention of Vietnam or Watergate; French coach ""Jeep,"" whose fondest wish is to speak French to a woman; reporter Murray Jay Siskind, author of an 800-page exposÉ of mob involvement in snowmobiles; travel-weary tennis ace Archie Brewster, who falls asleep over strip Monopoly games; plus voyeuristic reporters, muscular brief encounters (sometimes in public places). . . and Shaver Stevens, a so-so player of the past who suffers from a bad case of ""Jumping Frenchman"" (involuntary motion disease) and moves into Cleo's bedroom, where he's put to sleep for five months in something called a ""Kramer cube."" Things become slightly more animated when the Saudi Arabians take control of the team and enforce ""bed checks""--but the recurring jokes about everyone's fascination with a Middle-Eastern mystic named Wasi Assad are astonishingly dated. In fact, the entire enterprise seems like a delayed replay of a whole slew of sports/sex comedies (the best of which, Dan Jenkins' Semi-Tough, is nearly ten years old)--with only a few amusing jabs (perhaps more than a few for those up on hockey-world personalities) to brighten the drab, giddy dÉjà vu.

Pub Date: Sept. 2nd, 1980
Publisher: Holt, Rinehart & Winston