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Playing for Pizza by John Grisham

Playing for Pizza (2007)

by John Grisham

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3,146991,783 (3.24)73
  1. 00
    Bleachers by John Grisham (KimSmyth)
    KimSmyth: Another sports themed Grisham book that is really not about sports after all
  2. 00
    Outcasts United: A Refugee Team, an American Town by Warren St. John (SqueakyChu)
  3. 00
    Lest darkness fall by L. Sprague De Camp (DWWilkin)
    DWWilkin: A new transplant trying to make a life in Italy. Heart-warming and fun-filled.

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Book on CD read by Christopher Evan Welch

Rick Dockery doesn’t know anything but football, but he’s obviously not very good at it. In six years, he played with eight teams. Now no one wants him, unless it’s to beat him up for his latest performance, which basically handed the AFC championship to the rival team. But … it seems that Italy is bonkers for American football, and the Parma Panthers are in need of a quarterback. And leaving for Europe will also keep a former cheerleader’s attorneys from filing a paternity suit against Rick. So off he goes.

What’s the male equivalent of chick-lit? Jock-lit? Well, whatever term we use, this novel is it. Light on plot (and what’s there is predictable), a little romance, a life lesson learned (sort of), and a lot of football. I’m not a fan of this sport, so much of the book with detailed descriptions of game plays was lost on me. But it was a quick read, fulfilled several challenges, and I enjoyed some of the scenes that explored Italian culture (and food). But Grisham is definitely capable of better writing that this.

Evan Welch does a fairly good job of voicing the audio. He has good pacing and I liked the way he voiced the Italians – even when I was listening ad double speed on my MP3. ( )
  BookConcierge | Jun 9, 2016 |
Another non-legal Grisham book. This one isn't very good, but it makes a pretty decent beach read. If you don't take the story to be too serious, you won't be disappointed. ( )
  biggs1399 | Jan 19, 2016 |
Very light reading - no lawyers so very un-Grisham. Fulfilled the need for light reading. There was a bit too much football in it for me, so I would not really recommend it. ( )
  TheresaCIncinnati | Aug 17, 2015 |
I haven't ever read a bad John Grisham book, and this one was no exception. This book is certainly one of his less serious novels (the worst things that happen are football-related injuries). I particularly like how it took place in Italy. ( )
  piersanti | Sep 28, 2014 |
It wasn't until I lived in a college town that I really got interested in football, and even then, it was a slow process. Had I come across this book earlier, I might just have found my way to being a fan a bit faster. I also might have really attempted that Italian study abroad...

Following the story of a disgraced NFL player on his journey to play football, this is far from Grisham's usual tale. And yet, it is also a wonderful read.

Grisham strikes a perfect balance of writing about the life of a professional athlete against writing about culture in Italy. For football fans, there are just enough play-by-plays to make relevant sections of the book fast-paced and let you visualize the important parts of those important games. And yet, for readers who won't be as interested in that aspect, there's really not enough of it to detract from what is otherwise, very simply, a good story with believable characters. The book moves quickly and gracefully across a number of settings, and it does so with a natural evolution and change which makes it a fast-paced read, and likely a journey away from what you know, regardless of what that is.

All told, the only downfall of the book is that it will make you hungry for a good Italian meal and desperate to go off to Italy to, of all things, see a football game.

Absolutely recommended--this is just one of those fun reads worth reading and passing on. And, if you've got someone who you Want to like football? Give them this. ( )
  whitewavedarling | Sep 6, 2014 |
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This book is dedicated to my longtime publisher, Stephen Rubin, a great lover of all things Italian--opera, food, wine, fashion, language, and culture. Perhaps not football.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0440244714, Mass Market Paperback)

Playing for Pizza: A Q&A with John Grisham

Q: American football in Italy seems like an unlikely subject for a John Grisham novel. What was the inspiration for Playing for Pizza?

A: Three years ago when I was in Bologna researching "The Broker", I discovered American football. One of my guides in the area played football for the Bologna Warriors for 10 years. I couldn't believe that American football actually existed there, but the more I heard about it the more intrigued I became.

Q: There is some great football writing in this novel. What kind of research was involved in capturing how this American institution is played in small town Italy?

A: The only way to research the book was to go to Parma and watch a game. The coach is an American who played at Illinois State, and he proved to be extremely valuable. I met many of the Italian players and the story simply unfolded.

Q: Speaking of research, you write lovingly of Italian food and wine in this book. What's your idea of the perfect Italian meal?

A: First course: prosicutto and melon; second course: stuffed tortellini; third course: roasted stuffed capon, all served with a great Barolo wine.

Q: Without giving away too much of the plot, your protagonist falls in love by the novel's end. Did you know when you started writing that Rick would get the girl?

A: Of course.

Q: You have a new legal thriller coming in January 2008. Can you give us any hints about what to expect?

A: I really don't like to talk about a book until it's finished. Sorry. But it will not be another work of non-fiction, nor will it be about football. Lots of lawyers in the next one.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:06:23 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

Cut from the Cleveland Browns after the worst performance in the history of the NFL, Rick Dockery, desperate to play football, is hired by the Panthers of Parma, Italy, and finds himself confronted by the confusing diversity of Italian culture, language, and romance.… (more)

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