Searching for Terry Punchout

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 30 Nov 2018

Member Reviews

When a story contains hockey, one last chance for redemption, a trip back home and some touching family moments, it is a story that is worth reading.  All of these and more are contained in Tyler Hellard’s excellent debut novel. 

Adam Macallister returns from Calgary to his small home town in Nova Scotia to write a story for Sports Illustrated about the player who holds the NHL record for most penalty minutes in a career, nicknamed Terry Punchout.  His real name is Terry Macallister – Adam’s father. Between the time his career ended and the unplanned reunion with his estranged son, Terry has returned to his hometown and lived at the local rink where he works driving the Zamboni and on general maintenance of the rink. 

On the trip back, Adam not only interviews his father and has many memories dredged up, both good and bad.  The reader will easily connect with Adam, not only for family matters but also when he reunites with his high school friends, a girl for whom he pined and now has a son, and his brief attempt at playing hockey again.  Terry is also a complex character and the reader will get into the mind of a hockey player who used to be considered an enforcer, even if fictional.

The story moves along nicely without going to fast or dragging along, making the reading very easy. Adam shares some interesting philosophical tidbits of life as well as comic lines.  One example of the funny side of the book is when Adam describes the phrase “out west”: “Out west is the very specific term people on the east coast apply to everything between Toronto and Japan.”  For an example of his philosophical views, try this one: “…I had to work out my own world view. What I came up with was this: everything in life is pass or fail.”

The story has a very interesting conclusion as well that will leave the reader satisfied and yet with questions at the same time.  It is a story that is recommended for readers who enjoy hockey fiction, stories of family and of memories.  It was certainly one of the best hockey fiction books I have read. 

I wish to thank Invisible Publishing for providing a copy of the book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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Searching for Terry Punchout is strong and active writing that led me into the world of a character I did not expect to embrace as fully as I did.  While I enjoy male writers and fiction about guys, sports have rarely caught my interest.  Nevertheless, this book worked well for me, even with its use of hockey as a creative element.  I'm tempted to call it "guy's fiction," but I think this is writing for both genders.
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They say you can’t go home again but Searching for Terry Punchout proves otherwise. This deceptively simple story of a washed up former hockey star, a writing career on the brink, and what it means to be family is a knock out!
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