Author: Pat Hughes
The following review was contributed by: Lily Azerad-Goldman: CLICK TO VIEW Lily Azerad-Goldman's Reviews
Open Ice is a brilliant insight into the psyche of an injured 16-year-old hockey star that grabs your attention until the very last word.
Master storyteller Pat Hughes has chosen violence in hockey and its consequences, as his principal theme. According to Hughes, “it was kind of what Mark Twain said about the weather: ‘everybody talks about it, but nobody does anything about it!’” There was no denying that hitting was a big part of the game.” In fact, the famous Eric Lindros had seven concussions.
The character of the principal protagonist, Nick Taglio, is very well-developed, while the supporting characters are all believable. Taglio loves to be on the ice with all the adulation and attention given to him by his “friends” and “girlfriend”. Unfortunatley, he runs into some hard luck when he suffers a concussion and is forbidden by his doctors and family to continue his hockey career.
He cannot fathom a life without hockey! The social interaction between him and his concerned family and his “friends” suffer the ravaging effects of his concussion. His “girlfriend” Devin, dumps him and the friends he thought he had are only his hockey companions. His schoolwork suffers from his difficulty with concentrating. Depression sets in as he lashes out at everyone. It is only when he meets Kara Jensen from the Peer Tutoring Program that he starts to slowly return to “normal.” Griff, his best friend, cautiously tries to continue to be his true friend. Nick comes to a very mature conclusion while skating again on “Open Ice”. The tumult in his heart touches us with poignancy. A few racy words and sexy scenes just add to the interest of this engrossing and entertaining quick-read.
At 271 pages, this novel can be read in a sitting, yet never feel rushed. Hockey connoisseurs as well as the average person who have no interest in hockey will thoroughly enjoy the dynamics of this endearing family.