Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The Over-Educated Hockey Fan Gives A Book Review: "Hockey and High Heels" by Lisa Ovens

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.

(cross-posted to talk hockey to me


CKim said...

I actually met Lisa Ovens back in October at a Hockey and High Heels event in LA (I got KMS2 to go with me after a little bit of needling =P). She's just about the sweetest woman ever and she was actually showing me moves out on the ice during the on-ice clinic that we had on the Staples Center ice (which was amazing). After spending that day with her, listening to her talk, and sitting with her during the game later that night, I can appreciate her attempt she made with this book. While reading this book, I occasionally saw the typographical errors that annoyed me, but I could actually hear her voice as I read her words.

While I think you have valid points, this book isn't exactly geared towards women like us. (I feel like I'm having deja vu talking about this.) But, Teka, if a Hockey and High Heels event comes around your way, I HIGHLY recommend you attend and meet Lisa! It might make you change your mind, even if it's just a little bit. =P

Anonymous said...

I actually attended the Hockey and Heels event that the Caps put on, but as I hear it, that's completely separate schtick.

I must say though, for the most part, the Caps put on a good show. There were a few moments of oversquee where I just sat there and rolled my eyes, but y'know, for all that and free drinks, not a bad experience.

Lucky13 said...

I nominate Teka to author a REAL female hockey fan's book!

Anonymous said...

While I haven't read Oven's book, I got the feeling from an excerpt that it would not geared toward real fans. Is there a book for women like us? If not, I think lucky13 makes a good point. Maybe Tekla or a small group can write a real hockey book for real female hockey fans. I'll help.

Anonymous said...

I nominate Teka's thesis to be the basis for said hockey book.

now i just have to finish writing the dad-blasted thing.

Fat Louie said...

The book does exist. "Cold-Cocked: On Hockey" by Lorna Jackson, published in '07. She's also a Canucks fan, coincidentally. It's got flaws and it doesn't speak as strongly to women in their 20s, but no one could accuse her of being a bimbo. Now it needs to be followed by other peoples' books two, three, and four....