I’ve wanted to read this book for a long time and I’ve tried many times. I’m a diehard New York Rangers fan and I thought a fictional take on what it would be like to be a female Ranger would be a blast. But after 10 pages, I soon realize that’s not what “Cleo Birdwell” (aka Don DeLillo) is going for here.
This book is really about sex. Lots and lots of sex. Sexual exploration, etc.
Which is fine. I’m not a prude. But wanting to read about one thing (hockey, the Rangers, gender dynamics) and instead getting another (sexuality, postmodernism, satire), especially with a male perspective makes this tough for me to appreciate.
The big issue is: can a man write all about female sexuality from a female’s perspective? I feel like in most instances, DeLillo handled it well. There are some predictably squicky moments too. I’m forever leery of men writing female POVs in the same way I am white people writing non-white ones, straight people writing gay ones, etc. I get the sex is a only a gateway to examine the socio-cultural norms DeLillo wants to autopsy but still. I can at least appreciate how he makes the larger point of a female philandering athlete and how that would be received differently versus a male one.
Can’t make this clear enough, if you’re reading it solely for the hockey, give it the hardest of hard passes. But if you like satire and are a fan of DeLillo, you should check it out because there are plenty of moments of inspired comedy and sharp satire. It also functions as a good snapshot of New York City at the dawn of the 80s. DeLillo treats it respectfully and realistically instead of making it out to be the giant toilet bowl most of America thought it was at the time.