Friday, September 26, 2008

Grisham Without the Legal Stuff

Most fiction readers are familiar with some of John Grisham's 15+ legal thrillers. But he has also, on occasion, written books that are not related to the legal system. I just finished the latest such Grisham effort, Playing for Pizza.

The hero is Rick Dockery, a perennial 3rd string NFL quarterback, who seems to be hidden on a different roster every season. At the beginning of the book, he has called on with 11 minutes left in the Super Bowl, the starting and 2nd string quarterbacks out with injuries, and his team leading by 17 points. Somehow he manages to lose the game even though the defense played outstanding ball. Of course, Rick remembers nothing because he was flattened and suffered a concussion on the final play of the game.

Everything and everyone suggests that Dockery should retire from the game even though he is only 28 years old. But he wants to play. The only offer, which he finally accepts, is with the Parma Panthers of the Italian NFL. Off we go to Italy with Rick. We see him gradually make the adjustment in a league with no more than 3 Americans on each roster and where most of the local players are there for the love of the game, not money. That is the source of the Playing for Pizza title.

This was a quick, easy read and a lot of fun. We learn as much about Italian food, opera and churches as we do about football. Of course, I won't give away the outcome of the story as Rick leads Parma through the Italian NFL season. This is one of those stories that does not require any deep thinking as you speed through its pages. It certainly was a fine read for The Ancient One as he took his daily morning walk through the neighborhood.

1 comment:

Charles Gramlich said...

I've heard of this book and want to give it a read. I just don't care for legal thrillers much, although I like Grisham's writing well enough. Maybe this will be the book for me.