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Thin Ice

Thin Ice: Saved By The American Dream


His skates were too small. Or they didn't match. Or they were that ultimate humiliation for a boy trying to play hockey--girls' white figure skates. Add to young Bruce McCall's shabby equipment his pencil-thin wrists, weak ankles, and, as he puts it, "a fruit bat's metabolism with a tree sloth's reflexes," and you'll understand why he failed so dismally in the cold, rough world of neighborhood hockey in Toronto. Bruce's catastrophic career as a rink rat epitomizes the youth he recounts in this funny, moving, sometimes disturbing memoir. In fact, Thin Ice examines a boyhood so filled with failure and disappointment that the comedy and insight its author/survivor wrests from it--like his subsequent career as one of America's most admired humorists and illustrators--seem like miracles.Bruce McCall's father, T.C., was an inaccessible tyrant. Bruce's mother, Peg, drank to blunt the effect of her husband's rages and to dodge the duties of taking care of six children. Still, Bruce did know some moments of pleasure as a child, especially in the small town of Simcoe, before T.C. moved his family to the dreary outskirts of Toronto: The Second World War offered its awesome mat riel and its heroic men, milk bottles grew top hats of cream, and grapes hung free for the stealing in Mrs. Klein's backyard. But his parents' demons took their toll on Bruce, and the move to Toronto set the stage for academic and social disasters: He flunked out of high school and took dead-end graphic-design jobs, all the while envying the full-color culture and high-octane energy of Canada's muscular neighbor to the south.That envy, combined with Bruce's passion for reading and drawing--one of the few positive bequests from T.C. and Peg McCall--became his refuge and then his salvation. His precocious reverence for The New Yorker magazine led him to invent entire comic worlds of artistic and literary creation. Ultimately, he read, wrote, and drew himself out of pennilessness and despair. Bruce McCall may not have been destined to glide around Madison Square Garden holding the Stanley Cup aloft, but as Thin Ice demonstrates, perseverance and talent can turn crummy ice skates--and even dashed hopes--into dreams come true.From the Hardcover edition.



  • Condition: --
    HPB condition ratings
    • New: Item is brand new, unused and unmarked, in flawless condition.
    • Fine/Like New (F): No defects, little usage. May show remainder marks. Older books may show minor flaws.
    • Very Good (VG): Shows some signs of wear and is no longer fresh. Attractive. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
    • Good (G): Average used book with all pages present. Possible loose bindings, highlighting, cocked spine or torn dust jackets. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
    • Fair (FR): Obviously well-worn, but no text pages missing. May be without endpapers or title page. Markings do not interfere with readability. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
    • Poor (P): All text is legible but may be soiled and have binding defects. Reading copies and binding copies fall into this category. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
    Conditions Guide
  • Format: Paperback
  • Sold by: --
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Vintage Books
  • ISBN-13: 9780679769590
  • ISBN: 0679769595
  • Publication Year: 1999
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HPB condition ratings
  • New: Item is brand new, unused and unmarked, in flawless condition.
  • Fine/Like New (F): No defects, little usage. May show remainder marks. Older books may show minor flaws.
  • Very Good (VG): Shows some signs of wear and is no longer fresh. Attractive. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
  • Good (G): Average used book with all pages present. Possible loose bindings, highlighting, cocked spine or torn dust jackets. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
  • Fair (FR): Obviously well-worn, but no text pages missing. May be without endpapers or title page. Markings do not interfere with readability. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
  • Poor (P): All text is legible but may be soiled and have binding defects. Reading copies and binding copies fall into this category. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
Conditions Guide
HPB condition ratings
  • New: Mint condition or still sealed (SS). Absolutely perfect in every way. New.
  • Fine/Like New (EX): No defects, little sign of use, well cared for. Plays perfectly. Close to new. Not necessarily sealed or unused, but close. Could be an unopened promotional or cut item. Sometimes called: mint-minus.
  • Very Good (VG): Will show some signs that it was played and otherwise handled by a previous owner who took good care of it.
  • Good (G): Attractive and well cared for, but no longer fresh. Minor signs of wear, scuffing or scratching, but will play almost perfectly. For vinyl: barely detectable crackles or pops.
  • Fair (FR): This item is in okay condition. For vinyl: good is not so good and the record may have low level crackles or pops when playing. CD: one or more tracks may skip.
  • Poor (P): Obviously well-worn and handled. Most vinyl collectors will not buy good or below, but some tracks on CD or vinyl will play.
Conditions Guide
HPB condition ratings
  • New: This movie is unopened and brand new.
  • Fine/Like New (EX): Near new. No defects, little sign of use. Plays perfectly. Not necessarily sealed or unused, but close. No skipping; no fuzzy or snowy frames in VHS.
  • Very Good (VG): Attractive and well cared for but no longer fresh. Minor signs of wear, but will play almost perfectly. For VHS: barely detectable distortion or very few fuzzy or snowy frames.
  • Good (G): This item is in okay condition and basically works well. There may be some minor distortion on VHS tape; slight scratching or wear on DVD.
  • Fair (FR): Basically plays, but may be obviously well-worn with some scratching or tape distortion.
  • Poor (P): Disc or tape is intact, but may be scratched or stretched. There may be skips or distortion or product defects.
Conditions Guide
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