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Friday Night Lights: A Town, a Team, and a…

Friday Night Lights: A Town, a Team, and a Dream (1990)

by Buzz Bissinger

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1,981574,886 (4.05)52

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I love football: I love watching football, I love reading about football. This was a great story about a high school football team in Odessa, Texas, named the Permian Panthers, and their attempt to make it to the state championship in 1988. In a town like Odessa, there isn't much to look forward to except for football, and the Panthers would often draw crowds of up to 20,000 people on a Friday night. People would wait in line for two days to get tickets. To a high school football game. Can you even begin to imagine that? I can't. The pressure these kids were under is staggering. It's a compelling and gripping story, full of tension and obsession. ( )
  bekkil1977 | Feb 10, 2018 |
I didn't think that I would be interested in the "New Classic." But the author hits this one out of the park, weaving a story together of the intimate details of the lives of the players, the coach, and the community. This might take place in Texas but it is a classic coming of age story. The revised edition with the afterward, 25 years later, is almost as expected. ( )
  deldevries | Nov 1, 2017 |
I can't believe I'm giving this book 5 stars, but that's how good it is. I didn't want to like it and in fact have resisted all things FNL in spite of (or because of) being a native Texan. But the storytelling and the story and the history were wonderfully done. It is relevant to our times even now and I just might have to watch the movie and/or the series now. ( )
  Pamici | Oct 12, 2017 |
A great documentation of west Texas life and football, which inspired one of my all time favorite tv shows. This goes into issues of race and education, as well as the economic state of the town of Odessa and how that relates to football, which was very interesting. It's a way of life that is completely foreign to me, but Bissinger certainly brought it to life. Sometimes his writing leaned a bit towards the sensational, with sudden flashbacks, sub plots or the use of way too many hyperbolic adjectives, but overall he told this story nicely. It was also very obvious how much he cared about the students on the football team, as well as the residents of the town. ( )
  Abbey_Harlow | Oct 5, 2017 |
Excellent long-form reporting into Texas high school football through the lens of a small town in the late 1980s. I particularly recommend the 25 anniversary edition as the boys of the book are now middle-aged and their where-are-they-nows are both bitter and sweet. Not at all like the TV show which is fantastic, but not a substitute for the book. The book trumps the movie version. Some of the reporting on the oil industry in Odessa/Midland is more of a snapshot of point-in-time, but the town's relationship to football is sadly, frighteningly, as true as it ever was. Maybe more so. Recommended--you don't have to be a sports / football fan, necessarily to like or appreciate it. ( )
  angiestahl | Feb 8, 2017 |
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In the Shreve High football stadium, I think of Polacks nursing long beers in Tiltonsville, And gray faces of Negroes in the blast furnace at Benwood, And the ruptured night watchman of Wheeling Steel, Dreaming of heroes.

-From "Autumn Begins in Martins Ferry, Ohio", by James Wright
To Howard, whom I miss. To Sarah, Gerry and Zachary, whom I love.
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Maybe it was a suddenly acute awareness of being "thirtysomething."
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This is the book version, not the film or TV series.
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Follows the 1988 season of the Permian Panthers, a high school football team in Odessa, Texas, exploring the lives of the players and the impact of the championship team on the small town.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0306809907, Paperback)

Secular religions are fascinating in the devotion and zealousness they breed, and in Texas, high school football has its own rabid hold over the faithful. H.G. Bissinger, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, enters into the spirit of one of its most fervent shrines: Odessa, a city in decline in the desert of West Texas, where the Permian High School Panthers have managed to compile the winningest record in state annals. Indeed, as this breathtaking examination of the town, the team, its coaches, and its young players chronicles, the team, for better and for worse, is the town; the communal health and self-image of the latter is directly linked to the on-field success of the former. The 1988 season, the one Friday Night Lights recounts, was not one of the Panthers' best. The game's effect on the community--and the players--was explosive. Written with great style and passion, Friday Night Lights offers an American snapshot in deep focus; the picture is not always pretty, but the image is hard to forget.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:21:17 -0400)

(see all 8 descriptions)

Chronicles a football season in Odessa, Texas, a depressed All-American town that lives and dies with the fortunes of its high school football team.

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