Amazons: An Intimate Memoir by the First Woman Ever to Play in the National Hockey League

ISBN: 0030554268
ISBN 13: 9780030554261
By: Cleo Birdwell

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Reader's Thoughts


Oh Don DeLillo, you're so silly.


This was clearly DeLillo's guilty pleasure book. That's fine except that the guilt was well earned. It's just not a very good book. Yes, there are a few funny moments of social satire and a few characteristic metafictive reflections; however, they're just too few and far between. My biggest disappointment was that he didn't do more to mimic and/or play with the "fake memoir" form. After the first few pages, there was barely a mention of it being a memoir (or of it acting like a memoir). Really, a few pages in, it simply began to read like a standard first-person novel. The memoir ruse was all but gone as I read further into the book. Furthermore, there's much to be said (too much to get into here) about how masculinist the supposed female viewpoint here tends to be. All in all, I suppose I understand why DeLillo has yet to claim Cleo Birdwell. Apparently, he was writing this at the same time as White Noise, and it's clear that he made the right call as to which book to put his name on.


Howlingly, fall off your chair funny; beautiful sentences; postmodern riffs on advertising culture, second wave feminism, professional sports, and globalization... despite the name on the cover this novel is pure Delillo and highly worth seeking out. David Foster Wallace even lifted a minor character from this book for Infinite Jest. Unfortunately all the recent attention has driven copies from the modest price of $16.00 I paid a year and a half ago to $70.00 and up, which is too bad since it was a best seller and there are plenty of copies around (mine is ex-library and has DISCARD indignantly stamped on the fly-leaf and the title page).


Don Delillo is the real author of this fictional memoir of a female goalie in the NHL. Cleo Birdwell is a pseudonym. My own feeling is that Delillo is at his best when he's just having fun and being funny, both of which he's doing here. None of the pretense of say, Underworld or The Names, where he's trying too hard. Some of it may be a little too silly, but it's still a fun ride. Also, some of the best/funniest sex scenes in literature. I just regret that I lost my copy. Damn.

David Taitelbaum

I'm a big Don DeLillo fan but man was this book terrible. It's no wonder he's done everything he can to disassociate himself from the thing. Being a DeLillo and an NHL fan I was looking forward to reading the book, however it was so ludicrously over the top that I had to laugh and decided that there just wasn't enough time for me to be bothered with finishing this drivel.

Gerry LaFemina

I was expecting more from this secret Don Delillo novel. basically, the first female hockey player has a lot of sex in her search for love.... a let down.


That Cleo Birdwell . . . always "hopping into bed" with guys. I have to love her.

Aaron (Typographical Era)

( Cleo Birdwell? No? She was supposedly the first woman to play hockey in the NHL and “Amazons” is her supposed memoir. Funny thing is though, it was actually written by Don DeLillo in the early 80’s right around the same time as one of his most famous novels, “White Noise.” As a matter of fact, sportswriter character Murray Jay Siskind actually appears in both works.Why does DeLillo refuse to acknowledge writing this in any of his official bibliographies and why hasn’t he allowed it to be republished since its initial release? Your guess is as good as mine, but the fact that it is not easily available to the masses is tragic because it’s one of his best efforts.If you’re unfamiliar with Don DeLillo, most of his body of work tackles heavy topics such as nuclear war, global terrorism, mathematics, 9/11, and the Kennedy assassination. “Amazons” however is something altogether different; it’s a comic masterpiece that addresses the average American’s two greatest obsessions: sports and sex.As previously mentioned, “Amazons” is the tale of Cleo Birdwell, supposedly the first woman to play hockey in the NHL. We follow her exploits, narrated by her, over the course of an entire season. When she’s not playing hockey, which is for most of the book, she’s sleeping with just about everyone who is somehow connected to the team. Each guy she hooks up with though, has his own, strange, fucked up thing when it comes to sex. One gets flaccid at the sound of the word “Watergate,” one can only get aroused by giving long speeches in French, one has jumping Frenchmen disease (yes, this is actually a real thing), one has to be told tales of small town America in order to become aroused, the list actually goes on and on. Our Cleo may be great on the ice, but she’s even better between the sheets.Personally, my favorite thing about DeLillo as an author is the way he writes conversations and his ability to make beautiful the smallest of seemingly meaningless moments. Reading “Amazons” was like taking those best bits from any serious DeLillo novel, turning them on their head so they become over the top in their absurdity, and then inserting them into a comedy. Simply put it shouldn’t work at all, but it does perfectly.I’m jonesing for an entire Cleo Birdwell series of novels. I want some up and coming “documentary” filmmaker to turn this thing into a mega movie franchise (though it may end up being a little too NC-17…). It’s hard for me to do because it’s so hilarious, but I have to admit that after “White Noise” this novel is my favorite thing DeLillo’s ever done.


Don DeLillo doesn't do light farcical comedy well, at only halfway through this book it becomes clear why he has since disowned this novel.


I laughed out loud several times. Very funny and dark.

Matthew Gallaway

Secretly written by Don DeLillo, this "memoir" by the first woman to play in the NHL is by turns hilarious and lyrical. Lots of old-world/eccentric New York City, frank, untortured sex scenes, and philosophical digressions on modern America. Highly recommend. I wrote an essay about some of the themes in the book, which you can find here:


Probably the best (ostensibly) hockey book I've read. Recommended to anyone who is a fan of hockey and/or Don DeLillo.Characters were a little unbelievable, but that is typical Don DeLillo - you just have to have a suspension of disbelief.


A little-known and out-of-print novel written pseudonymously by Don DeLillo. Very funny and well worth the effort of tracking down a copy.

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