An otherwise unremarkable sports biography hammers home the values of determination and hard work with an unapologetic Christian slant.
NHL forward Mike Fisher's professional and spiritual life reveals the physical and emotional battle scars he suffered on the ice. Each chapter addresses a separate season (even hockey aficionados may be shocked by the numerous times his playoff games resulted in defeat). Portrayed as a near-saint, this charity-supporting, gracious athlete received support from his religious mentors, though not with immunity from grief; the illness and then death of a beloved coach results in a cutting loss. Religious fervor is maintained in quotations and repeated references to Romans 12:12. Bubbly, fast-paced commentary hits on each score, while stats naturally blend within text. Words occasionally repeat in close proximity, disrupting the text's fluidity. Overt enthusiasm for the sport lends it a tone akin to a high-drama broadcast, though statements can veer into ludicrous territory: “Like previous years, the unknowns and distractions make life a lot like balancing on Jell-O in a blizzard at midnight.” Small black-and-white action photographs fail to evoke the rink's aggressive drama. A glossed-over review of the pro's recent marriage to singing sensation Carrie Underwood will disappoint both country-music fans and romantic hopefuls.
Though the tone refrains (barely) from utter didacticism, the values-driven narrative just misses the goal. (Biography. 9-12)