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Playing with Fire

3.84  ·  Rating Details ·  1,665 Ratings  ·  140 Reviews
In "Playing With Fire, " Theo Fleury takes us behind the bench during his glorious days as an NHL player, and talks about growing up devastatingly poor and in chaos at home. Dark personal issues began to surface, and drinking, drugs, gambling, and girls ultimately derailed a career that had him destined for the Hall of Fame. Fleury shares all in this raw, captivating, and ...more
ebook, 322 pages
Published October 1st 2009 by Triumph Books (IL)
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Jan 19, 2013 Buggy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Opening Line: “As far back as I can remember, every hockey rink that I walked into, people would whisper, that’s him …that’s him”

This is a startlingly honest autobiography that any true hockey fan (in particular the Canadian ones) will just eat up. Giving you all the dirt and behind the bench information you weren’t aware you wanted to know. It’s a gritty look at the real NHL, inside the locker rooms, the players, the coaches, the contracts, the money and all that brings to a small town boy who
Nov 26, 2009 Shiela rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Glad that one is finally over. It was essentially 300+ pages of Fleury blaming everyone and everything else for his problems and seeing how cocky he could be. Let me tell you, that guy DOES NOT have a self esteem problem calling himself "an elite athlete" every 5 pages or so. The thing that bothered me the most were his personal, and most of the time negative, opinions of all of the other players out there that were most of the time better than him and it contributed nothing constructive to his ...more
Jan 27, 2011 Jen rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I couldn't even finish it. The only way I can really describe this is that it sounds like you're sitting at a bar next to some old drunk who is reliving his (long past) glory days and you just want him to shut up. I hated that it the stories were long-winded and went off on a lot of side stories, never sticking to the point. As well as the fact that everyone is referred to by nicknames, which would be fine if there was an initial introduction of the person by the first name. I think McLellan Day ...more
Dec 23, 2014 Matt rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sports, canadian
For the record, I grew up a big Calgary Flames fan and a fan of Theoren Fleury. This book changed all of that. That it was poorly written probably isn't all his fault (which after having read the book would be fairly consistent, as nothing he ever did was his fault), as it almost seems like it was spoken into a tape recorder over a weekend and then transcribed onto paper. I've learned that he had problems with coaches in the NHL because "all coaches are idiots," he flipped off home crowd fans in ...more
Oct 20, 2009 Brie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of the best memoirs I've ever read. Actually, it's one of the best books I've ever read. I've read a lot of memoirs and biographies, and this one is brutally honest -- heartbreakingly so.

Theo Fleury's book contains many stories. It's the story of a Canadian who grew up poor on the prairies and clung to his dream like a lifeline. It's a story of a broken, lonely childhood plagued by demons and abuse. It's a story about the drive to be the best at a particular sport. It's a story of a
Jason Saunders
Apr 27, 2014 Jason Saunders rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an amazing tale of Theo and his constant struggle with his internal issues and demons. Like many children that are abused his copping mechanisms were far from ideal and he actually appears to have masochistic tendencies feeling the need to treat himself badly and that he doesn't deserve any better. The supressed issues that have never been dealt with gain momentum throughout his life and eventually present as substance abuse at various stages. Theo had an amazing career as a hockey playe ...more
Feb 06, 2013 Peter rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'll give Fleury credit for pulling no punches, speaking the truth, and being fully open about everything he has experienced in his life and career. It's a difficult read in parts, but you almost feel like you're sitting down with him, hearing him talk about everything. And that is where I think the book needed improvement: I get the impression that his editors let him shoot from the hip so fully, that instead of a story of victimization and redemption that could transcend the genre, you get a g ...more
I read this quickly, which is theoretically a good sign, but I can't say I enjoyed it all that much. It was disjointed and all over the place, and I thought it petered out at the end. Also, despite my respect for Fleury as a hockey player and as a dude who went through a lot of nasty stuff and came out the other side and wrote a book about it and is trying to move on and help people -- I really, really didn't like him. It was all fairly small stuff, but it piled up, and by the time I got to the ...more
Melanie Popp
Tough read as he's kind of an idiot.
Nov 13, 2016 Shayna rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
So I wasn't the biggest fan of this book, but it's genuinely not a bad book. I read it for a book report, which sometimes has a way of tarnishing the reading process, but there's other, more normal, reasons I didn't like it as much.

One would be all the hockey. I'm a major hockey fan (for the Leafs, so we all know how invested I have to be in hockey) and I like hearing hockey stories, but this was full of explaining games, which I wasn't expecting and got a little boring. I thought the book focus
Janice Stonehouse
Quite the story. I already knew some of his story, but wow, I am amazed this guy is still alive. I always liked him when he was playing, especially with the Flames, and was quite surprised at his time there....and I must agree with him about hockey today....regular season....boring, playoffs, much better hockey. If you are a hockey fan, if you have ever been through some pretty bad stuff in your youth, that carried/carries on into your present....this is the book for you. He is still my hero.
Jan 01, 2017 Russell rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very honest and sometimes heartbreaking, especially considering the pure hockey talent Theo possesses.
Donna Dukart
Man, he did alot of drugs, drinking and gambling. Crazy.
Monica Mason
Oct 13, 2016 Monica Mason rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shocking and raw. An eye-opening read about one man's journey from childhood to adulthood. From a dream to reality (NHL) and the struggle with life-long demons.
Apr 27, 2016 Susan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: hockey
Fleury's story is about trying to survive abuse through determination and drugs, then finally coming to the realization that reliance on God is the only lasting way through. Starting with his childhood in Manitoba, through youth hockey and abuse by a coach that he and the other victims didn't share for years, through a hard partying lifestyle meant to drown those memories, Fleury plays hockey, the one constant. Driven to excel in the game, despite the alcohol and drug abuse and the injuries that ...more
Adin Shniffer
Mar 23, 2012 Adin Shniffer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012
What a book!

As someone who is not old enough to have really appreciated how good Theo Fleury was, I thoroughly, thoroughly, enjoyed this.

I thought there might be way too much of an emphasis on some of his ordeals as a child (spoiler alert: sexual abuse), but other than acting as a root cause for his troubles as an adult there was not too much detail on it. It was focused on his career, both the one and off-ice antics.

Reading the book, you get the sense that you're sitting beside Theo in a bar as
May 01, 2012 Mike rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, biography, life
This is one of the best books I've read. I know allot of hockey fans who are reluctant to read this book because they are squeamish about what they might have to read about. To them as well as all others I say - read this book. Fleury has done a good job of telling his story while at the same time being mindful of his reading audience and their sensitivities. The language is straight forward hockey talk - written the way many professional athletes speak. The narrative is compelling and follows F ...more
Lewis M
Jan 22, 2014 Lewis M rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Having read the book, and also having seen the documentary on Theo's life, it is a frank recollection of an alcoholic and drug addict that fell apart in front of our eyes. Theo the hockey player was brilliantly talented and blessed with a tenacity rarely seen in the NHL.

What was less known though long suspected were the demons, baggage and abuse he suffered at the hands of Graham James on his way to the NHL. The book pulls few punches about what happened in Moose Jaw in the WHL, and what happene
Dec 26, 2015 Kate rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I found the author to be a selfish, entitled jerk. He managed to turn every scenario to meet his agenda. He constantly contradicts himself, such as when he brags about how he constantly got under opposing players kinds by saying crap like he had pictures of their naked girlfriend. Then later a player tells him he will just end up doing coke again and he gets on his pedestal that hockey has no place for comments like that. Whatever dude.

This whole entire book is basically him bragging about what
Jul 12, 2015 Craig rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2014, bio
A resounding argument against hero worship, gambling, cocaine, alcohol, broken homes, and especially pampered amateur and overpaid professional athletes.
If you are an extremely gifted athlete who hits the hockey jackpot always remember that the world is out to get you, so watch out for pedophiles, "dancers," franchise owners, coaches, european hockey players, referees, and linesmen and many many other who don't appreciate what a special guy you are.
At the same time forget about kids, wives, re
Dale Stonehouse
Hockey memoirs are not my normal reading preference, but Fleury uses his experience with absent parents, child sexual abuse and the resulting behavior that landed him in rehab and almost cost him his life to urge children who are being abused to speak and tell. Despite being one of the best hockey players in the world and playing for Team Canada's gold-medal winning 2002 team, his addictions to alcohol, drugs, sex and gambling drove him to the point of insanity. I always enjoy the Canadian persp ...more
Mar 01, 2014 Brandon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: brandon
Playing With Fire, I think this is a great book that all of us can understand. The reason I say this is that this book tells us about theo fleury's life with hockey and all the adversities he had to overcome. The book it self starts out with theo being at age 6 when he first started to play hockey. At age 13, when theo was at hockey he met amen who brutaly did undisciable things to him and later this became public in the nhl. Then the author describes all events that theo went through being pos ...more
Jim Lane
This is a brave and honest book. It's not written particularly well, but it's about what you'd expect from an ex-hockey player and drug addict who doesn't claim to be a scholar. It reads as if you were sitting in a bar with the man himself listening to his stories over a few beers. The value of the book comes from Fleury laying his experiences with molestation and drug/alcohol abuse right on the table. He also isn't shy to call out other NHL players for what they are or how he viewed them. There ...more
John Supple
It took me a long time to read this and not sure if it was because it was on my iPad and I don't like to read on it, because he struck me as an unapologetic jock that thought he was better than everyone else or because he seemed to want everyone to be sympathetic to what he went through. Regardless what he went through he was. It a nice person for much of his life. It's terrible that anyone would ever have to experience what he went through but I don't think that gives you licence to be an ass f ...more
Jan 18, 2015 Joy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Though Fleury has an amazing story to share, it was incredibly difficult for me to get through this book. Fleury's experiences should have made him a character that I could sympathize with and cheer for. However, one thing gets in the way. His huge ego.

It seemed as if he couldn't go one page without proclaiming how talented he was or how the whole world was against him. I grew tired of his penchant for blaming other people for his own mistakes very quickly. I was pretty annoyed whenever he said
Jun 19, 2011 Gurra rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Personligt och gripande om en problemfylld uppväxt från hokceyns "badboy".

När han slår igenom som spelar så kommer pengarna och missbruken, att han kunnat festa så hårt och ändå prestera på den yttersta världsnivån förvånar mig.

Han ger också en klänga till dagens hockey klimat i NHL där det inte finns utrymme för practical jokes i omklädningsrummet och att dagens coachning leder till en tråkig defensiv spelstil.

Jag var lite orolig för att slutet på missbruket kom sig av att han hittade gud men s
I gave this book a three - I think you have to like Theoren Fleury to rate it higher - and I found at the end of the book I just didn't like him that much. I agree with the other reviewer who said he continues to blame others, and doesnt' take responsibility for some of his actions. I appreciated the fact that he shared his difficult story, and that he has certainly been through a lot in his life. I loved the hockey stories, and some of the behind the scenes perspective, but at the end, I felt l ...more
Feb 27, 2011 Lynn rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was after hearing Theo Fleury host a CBC radio show that I became interested in reading his book. True that the writing is not perfect however, it is a memoir and he did a great job using his unique voice chronicling his life. He did run-on out of order at times, but that made it and him more real to me. At times I did find myself skimming over his detailed descriptions of hockey games, but many hockey fans would enjoy his play by play. I admired Fleury's transparency, not fearful of expressi ...more
Sep 10, 2011 Adam rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
pages read 5-14

task: summarize what u read

task: Playing with fire is an autobiography by Theo Fleury. It is a great read. In the section I read, Theo talks about how his life sucked as a kid. He later talks about how he befriends the local priest ( Father Paul ) and when Father Paul dies unexpectedly, he feels like he has no one to talk to. Theo goes on to say, "it was a devastating loss". Near the end of the chapter, he talks about going to Jehovah's Witness bible studies with his mother and ha
Oct 15, 2011 Jennifer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I was a huge fan of Fleury growing up as I admired the fact that not only was he the smallest player in the NHL by a long shot, he was one of the most talented and played like he was twice as large. I had no idea of the demons that Fleury faced until a few years ago about him being sexually abused as a boy. It amazing how Fleury got his life back after years of being an alcoholic, coke user and partying hard to try and rid his internal demons. A feel good story and a unique perspective on ice ho ...more
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Theoren "Theo" Fleury was born in Oxbow, Saskatchewan, and grew up in the small town of Russell, Manitoba, the eldest of three boys.

Fleury grew up playing hockey, overcoming his small stature by adopting an aggressive and determined style of play. As a youth, he played with the St. James Canadians of the Manitoba Junior Hockey League and the Moose Jaw Warriors of the Western Hockey League. He als
More about Theo Fleury...

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