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Playing With Fire Hardcover – October 1, 2009
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“It’s hard to believe Fleury survived his own life.” (The Globe and Mail)
“An account the hockey world has long waited to hear, as Fleury’s career had been one of the most spectacularly troubled in NHL history. . . . Fleury lifts the lid on the entire harrowing tale.” (Maclean’s)
“Nobody came through in a big game like he did. I played against him when he led the Flames in the mid-’90s. At five foot six and 150 pounds he played at twice that size.” (Wayne Gretzky)
“I’ve known Theo Fleury since back in junior, and I always hated playing against him. Theo was the ultimate competitor. He would do anything to win. That kind of attitude is tough to beat. I am really glad Theo has come out on top.” (Joe Sakic)
“As a young player in the League, I was lucky to have a captain like Theoren Fleury. I’ve never played with a more tenacious and determined player.” (Jarome Iginla)
“Theoren Fleury was a brilliant hockey player. He excelled in a team game.” (Ron MacLean)
“Fleury has won over fans all around the world. . . . we are all cheering for the little underdog in the biggest fight in his life.” (Hockeybookreviews.com)
“The emotional story of a young man who despite his size, troubled upbringing, and addictive demons made an undeniable impact on the game of hockey.” (NHL Digest) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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He also seems to use this book as a platform to call out people he didn't like. There were several times where he goes out of his way to take a shot at a guy, and these don't usually contribute anything to the story. He seems to think that they only way a person is worth anything, is if they played on a championship winning team in their pro career. He has an entire chapter that is nothing more than a long rant about how coaches have no right to coach or tell players what to do unless they also had a long pro career. He even goes as far as saying star players shouldn't ever have to listen to coaches.
With his troubled childhood and off ice problems, I was looking forward to an interesting read. This book did give some good insight, but his overall arrogant attitude and constantly playing the victim grow tiring. I was glad to see him take some responsibility in the last chapter, and I hope he continues down a good path.
Theo Fleury's book contains many stories. It's the story of a Canadian who grew up poor on the prairies and clung to his dream like a lifeline. It's a story of a broken, lonely childhood plagued by demons and abuse. It's a story about the drive to be the best at a particular sport. It's a story of addiction to booze, drugs, and sex. It's a story of both dizzying success and financial failure. But most of all, it's a story about what it means to be human and what it's like to live in constant pain...and to find relief in things that only make matters worse.
Anyone who loves hockey (especially the Calgary Flames) will love this book. Ditto anyone who's been abused or anyone who struggles (or struggled) with substance abuse and suicidal impulses. Theo has written a book for both sports fans and those who don't care about sports. His story is painful, but it deserves to be heard. And hopefully it will help anyone who struggles with the same issues that affected him.
Thank you, Theo, for writing this book.
That being said, it's an interesting story and if you're a hard core hockey fan (or a Fleury fan), it's worth a look.
Fleury (along with Kirstie McLellan Day) tell a no holds barred tale of a young man with big dreams of being a sports star and what lengths he would go to achieve his goals, which included the covering up of the abuse he suffered and how chasing your dreams can sometimes mean you pay a high price which Fleury did. The book is refereshingly honest and at times is both unsettling and disturbing which no doubt was what the authors had intended. Yet through his struggles, Fleury maintains a sense of humour. The best part of course is knowing he survived his trail by fire and made it through the other side. Fleury acknowledges his faults and flaws and knows he isn't perfect. But he also gives credit to his family and friends for helping him make it showing a humble side to the man.
You don't have to be a sports fans or even know that much about Ice Hockey to appreciate a story of man who achieved such success in his professional career but found his greatest sense of accomplishment after the lights in the arena switched off and the crowds were gone. Well worth reading.