The Kid Who Missed The Bus by Matt McCoy

The Kid Who Missed The Bus by Matt McCoy
Publisher: Central Avenue Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (211 pages)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 5 Stars
Reviewed by Daisy

In 1969, Lily and Nolan Doyle put the bombs and bastards of Belfast behind them – fled The Troubles in Northern Ireland to raise their family in the seclusion of small-town British Columbia, Canada. But firstborn son Daniel had troubles of his own…

Danny Boy loves hockey but Danny Boy loves women, too. And he can’t seem to quit either.

A tale that body-checks its way through Canada, Europe and the US, this is the story of the boy too big for his own skates, the teen with stars in his eyes and the man on the road to discovering he is more than just a defenceman.

Ice hockey is not just a game; it is everything. Danny Boy lets hockey shape his life. The violence and need to perfect his game encourages him to be persistent and make the most of opportunity. Development of character through their life passion is novel to me and a joy to watch unravel. However, the real beauty to this book is its turn of phrase.

There is a parallelism between different generations – from mother and father to son and new partner – which is poetic in its craft. Certain phrases are repeated by father and son such as ‘not afraid to take a gamble’, ‘not afraid to have a craic’. These thread through the text perfectly as motifs and suggest the novel is perhaps more hybrid than it first appears. The phrases also have a pleasing auditory sound. This is poetic, haunting to the ear, with many similarities to folk and fairy tale. It adds a pleasing extra dimension which keeps me hooked as a lover of sound play. Not many novels engage more than one of a reader’s senses and this does that in a relatively uncommon way.

This is not to say the style of Matt McCoy’s novel is its only virtue. As mentioned, the characterisation is strong. McCoy pulls me into Danny Boy’s life, his Irish background, his culture, his wants and feels, loves. His sexual conquests are described but not vulgarly. The sexual content is skimmed over in favour of plot in a dry, factual and actually rather pleasant way. It is not an overindulgent romance – the story is not about that – but neither does it leave the sex at ‘afterwards’.

Normally I would be repulsed by a womanising character but this one I understand. I am made to understand his faults with his virtues – he is a mimic of a human being, after all.

Danny Boy and his adventures represent a certain morality, as well as culture. The story finishes with repetition of old patterns, a bad boy gone good, which transcends the story to become a lesson and a documentation of life’s similarities through the ages. Because of this, it appears to be a purposefully ironic decision for the story to be structured as a long parable and this mix of modern and old storytelling is a format I would be more than happy to read again.


  1. Thank you for your review on my book and I’m glad you enjoyed my journey. I appreciate your honesty of letting me tell my story.

    Danny Boy Doyle

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