"" Writer's Wanderings: Books for the Road--Playing For Pizza

Friday, May 08, 2009

Books for the Road--Playing For Pizza

Fans of football or fans of Italy, this book is for you. Playing For Pizza by John Grisham is the story of a quarterback down on his luck--make that out of luck. He's made the circuit in the NFL and failed. Between that and a possible paternity suit, he escapes to Italy to play football Americano for the Parma Panthers. Along the way, he finds himself learning some great lessons about love, life, and loyalty.

Grisham delivers wonderful descriptive passages of great Italian food and trips to other Italian cities. I've been to many of them. His portrayal is accurate and his portrait of the Italians in his story is very appropriate. I like that he did not over season his writing with too many Italian phrases. I hate it when authors slow my reading down with so much foreign language that I either have to look up, wait for translation, or skip over.

If you aren't interested in football however, you may get lost in the passages that describe the play on the field. Short of giving the Xs and Os from the playbook, Grisham does detail several game plays.

All in all, it was a fun read. I could sympathize with Rick's culture shock, fondly remember our Italy trips, and certainly appreciate the football games. I do take some exception to his Cleveland-bashing but in some ways, maybe we've earned it.

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