BOOK REVIEW | A DEVIL ON BOTH SHOULDERS

Title: A Devil on both Shoulders

Author: John McKinstry

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

You never know how the experiences of your childhood affect you as an adult. They say good experiences make for good mental wellbeing as an adult and that bad experiences can lead to poor mental health.

The Ogre knew first hand. Ollie Brooks had experienced it all. After the death of his mother, the physical and emotional abuse and manipulation by his father manifested so much in him that he believed the ‘home team’ as his father put it, was much more important than the team on which he played. Boy, was he wrong.

The life of an enforcer is a tough one. No one knew that more than Ollie. His injuries were numerous and long lasting. The feelings of being inadequate and useless – driven into him by the fists of his father, stayed with him long after his career was over.

Some say you have a devil on one shoulder, but Ollie would say he had a devil on each shoulder and that never ends well.

John McKinstry isn’t an author who shys away from dark themes. Mental health in ice hockey has been a recurring theme for many years, being brought into the forefront in the last few years with a number of players coming forward to tell their stories and worse, committing suicide.

The story of Ollie Brooks will drag you through all of it, leaving no stone unturned when it comes to how it is when a player retires from the sport. When you play hockey, you become a player for life. Retiring doesn’t just make it all go away and often players struggle with the day to day like of being a civilian.

Go and read his book, it’s a page turner. You won’t be able to put it down and when you finish it, you’ll be left yearning for more. John is making a career out of putting the darker side of the sport in the spotlight and this book is no exception.

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