Why He Didn’t

After hearing Sheldon Kennedy interviewed by Jim Rome a couple of weeks ago, I wanted to read his book, the finally I’m ready to tell about all this stuff publication of his memoir of his hockey career but especially of the years-long sexual abuse he endured from a trusted coach. One of the bitter ironies of Kennedy’s life is that only now, after a very successful junior career and a journeyman’s eight years in and around the NHL, is he rediscovering the love and joy in the game that he had known as a child.

Why I Didn’t Say Anything: The Sheldon Kennedy Story is very affecting reading, and answers most of the quiet wonderings I’d had about this episode, a tale which I mainly knew from sensational headlines and brief interviews. His voice comes through strongly but reasonably and without bitterness, though his co-writer and editors have allowed many grammar errors and typos to remain. (Kennedy tells of a healing encounter with residents of the Morley Reserve during his cross-Canada skate to heighten awareness of sexual abuse. The meeting was so emotional, he reports, that “everybody was balling” after it. What, a 3 on 3 hoops tourney broke out?) This is certainly not high literature, but the raw sincerity of Kennedy’s prose is a revelation and a challenge to anyone who cares about sport, about children, or about the personal and societal damage caused by sexual abuse. It’s a quick read and a useful one.

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