Book Review: Anchorboy by Jay Onrait

9781443429474Anchorboy: True Tales from the World of Sportscasting 

by Jay Onrait
ISBN: 9781443429474
Collins, 2013

I wish he had waited about ten years before writing a book.

Ten years from now, Jay Onrait would be able to give us the view from States side. Ten years from now, he would have more stories in his arsenal, so he could include fewer stories about his bodily fluids. Ten years from now he might have learned to look less in the mirror and more outside of himself.

I believe when Jay Onrait was writing this book, he didn’t envision 51-year-old suburban moms as his potential audience. I believe that because the best audience for this book is: (1) male, and (2) younger than I am.

That’s fair; he is a sportscaster, after all.

In my household though, I rival other family members in the sports fanaticism department. There’s a time in May when French Open tennis, NHL hockey, ML baseball AND curling all happen at the same time; I barely leave my couch. Before Jay Onrait, Dan O’Toole and Producer Tim moved to the States, my son and I watched the re-play of their version of SportCentre on TSN every morning.  We watched because we wanted the highlights, and they entertained us with their comedic delivery. (And I could look at Dan O’Toole’s face all day long.) When I heard that Jay Onrait had a book, it went on my Christmas list. Mine, not my husband’s or my son’s. Jay Onrait was stuck with a 51-year-old suburban mom as his audience.

As I read, I had the same reaction I had to Kelly Oxford’s book, Everything Is Perfect When You’re a Liar. It’s not a bad book. I can’t give it a negative review. It’s just not the right book for me. (I wasn’t surprised to see her mentioned in the Afterword. I knew they were connected somehow.)

I started out with plenty of hope. Onrait was a Gary Carter and Montreal Expos fan, so we had that in common. We share an appreciation for the glory years of the Edmonton Oilers, so that was good, too. And he is, after all, “Canadian!” But why, oh why, do people feel their “I got so wasted” stories are in any way unique and interesting? They are neither. Even when the story is “I got so wasted at the Olympics,” it’s still not unique or interesting. Especially when the wastee is too (a) drunk, (b) lacking in common sense, and (c) busy riding on the coattails of the network to take personal responsibility for his actions. Disappointing.

I experienced minor heart palpitations when Onrait revealed his complete ignorance about Craig Kielburger. To be fair, sports and humour are Onrait’s business not humanitarian work, but Kielburger is one of my personal heroes and an exceptional Canadian. It disappointed me that sentences involving bodily fluids outnumbered those about Kielburger by about 1276 to 8. (And the first number doesn’t include images conjured by the activities behind Hooker Harvey’s.)

I have to disagree with Onrait on one other very important point: Felching is not funny. Nope. Not under any circumstances. Never. Yuck. (Look it up.)

On page 11, Onrait writes: “I’m kind of an asshole.” He proves this point from time to time through his stories, but his human decency does shine through the cracks of asshole-ishness. He has potential for something better. 

In about ten years, Jay Onrait will be able to tell us how he survived “successful-Canadian guilt” after his move to the United States. In about ten years, he’ll have more stories to tell, so we won’t have to know about his bodily functions. In about ten years, he will have met a humanitarian or two, so we’ll see more of the decent, non-asshole “Canadian!” that hides beneath the Jay Onrait public persona.

In about ten years, if Jay Onrait writes another book, I hope he pictures 51-year-old suburban moms reading it. It would be a better book.

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About Arlene Somerton Smith

Writer, laughing thinker, miner of inspirational insights, sports fan, and community volunteer

Posted on February 19, 2014, in Autobiography, Book reviews, Books for the beach, Books I bought, HarperCollins, Humour, Sports and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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