I’m not sure I can write a review that does justice to Madison St. Station, the new (and first) book from creator and founder of Faxes From Uncle Dale (formerly Committed Indian), Sam Fels.
I’ll start by saying if you are a Blackhawks fan of any level, just buy the book. Nothing I say will be better than that creative call to action.
While it may initially feel as though the book is really a chronicle of the Chicago Blackhawks from the late 1980’s through present day, you will quickly get lost in its pages (seriously there aren’t any page numbers so you just keep reading). Fels doesn’t talk about the Blackhawks through the years as much as he tells the story of his life through the lens of the Chicago Blackhawks, and we can all relate.
Sports have a way of making the hard times better and harder at the same time. They make the good times even better. Fels doesn’t just tell this to you, he makes you feel it.
I found myself skipping ahead to look at what games he highlighted just to see if there were any that I was at just to feel a personal connection to the stories he told, but I couldn’t find any (a side-effect of growing up in the suburbs and moving to Denver after college making games hard to catch at the UC). The truth is, I didn’t need to be at any of those games to have that personal connection. I’ll probably never meet him, but I connected with his stories not as a Blackhawks fan but as a human.
In the book Fels says, “I don’t know that hockey is any more of a microcosm or alternate reality to life than any other sport.”
Judging by the rest of the book, he puts forth a pretty convincing argument that it is a perfect microcosm to life.
If you are a Blackhawks fan, you will love this book. If you are a sports fan, you will love this book. If you are a fan of the human journey, you will love this book.