Tuesday, October 30, 2007

John Grisham: Playing for Pizza

I just finished John Grisham's Playing for Pizza. It is a pleasant little book. Like his earlier A Painted House, it is not a lawyer book. Unlike A Painted House, this book is pretty light hearted.

The basic story is about a not so great NFL quarterback who is not ever going to make it big. After all his choices run out, he goes to play in the Italian football league. The description of Rick Dockery’s fall is absolutely hilarious. And the mistakes he makes in Italy are pretty entertaining as well. Learning to drive (and park) a stick shift is classic.

I think this is a story of being open minded, setting priorities in life, and keeping commitments. In many ways, it’s a coming of age story – if that’s allowed for someone in his late twenties. I think Rick Dockery finally grows up in Italy.

But even though there may be some character values offering redeeming social benefit, to me the best thing about the book is that it's fun.


Kit said...

Well, that is an interesting review, but it's not quite enough to convince me to buy the book. Could you say more about the redeeming value of the character without giving away the plot? But I'd read it if I found a copy to borrow. I usually like John Grisham's stories.

I was surprised when I got to this page that I was already logged in! It turns out Blogger is included in Google, and I just got a new Google account a couple days ago!

Nate said...

Rick Dockery starts the books as an NFL quarterback. NFL quarterbacks, even 3rd string, can be a bit pampered and full of themselves - at least in fiction. (The only one I've met in person seemed sincere and committed to his message, but was undeniably well off.) Dockery is still full of himself when he gets to Italy, and still expects his agent to rescue him from his banishment.

We watch as he interacts with other people and adjusts to his new reality. I think it is his growth in interpersonal relationships that represents his redeeming character values. But giving all the examples could give away a lot of the plot.

Suffice it to say that at the beginning of the book, few of us would really want Rick Dockery as a friend. At the end of the book, most of us would.

Dockery faces particular adversity in the form of a sports writer that just won't leave him alone. Although I can't say that any of would approve of his handling of the situation in the real world, in the context of the novel, we love it. So dealing with adversity - plus. Specific actions - not so much. But as I said from the beginning, the story is fun.