Tootoo comes from a Canadian province that only has 28,000 residents. That's less folk than the population of American Samoa! His background sounded a bit like Sarah Palin's: living in/near the tundra, hunting food, eating raw meat, etc.
Later in the book, Tootoo stated that his parents required that he perform well in school. However, there's a focus on not being gentlemanly while playing hockey. His father coached him to play rough. He gained roughness by playing with older guys. The book speaks a lot about him fighting on the ice and admits that some fans just wouldn't be entertained if hockey players didn't engage in fisticuffs. Unfortunately, I do fear that this ruffianism plays into the stereotype of the "wild savage."
I'm so glad the book includes the phrase "highs and lows" in its title. Yes, Tootoo is a barrier-breaker and role model. However, his brother committed suicide. I never got the sense that Tootoo obtained a school diploma. The book concludes with the suggestion that he might not be playing in the NHL for much longer because most players have short careers. They show him in a photo with a black eye. Like many books designed for young readers, it has gushy parts, but it does show that no one is perfect.
What shocked me the most, however, was the book's format. When the librarian passed the book to me, both of us had our jaws on the ground because the book is so small in size. It's about the size of my hand! The American-produced books that I have read about American athletes are larger, in color, with big fonts, etc. This book is paperback, only has B&W photos, has small print, etc. I don't know if Canadian publishing houses just don't have as many resources as their American counterparts or if Canadian children will grab a book that is just not all that eye-catching.