Playing for Pizza: A Novel Info

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#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
Rick Dockery is
the third-string quarterback for the Cleveland Browns. In the AFC
Championship game, to the surprise and dismay of virtually everyone,
Rick actually gets into the game. With a seventeen-point lead and just
minutes to go, Rick provides what is arguably the worst single
performance in the history of the NFL. Overnight, he becomes a national
laughingstock—and is immediately cut by the Browns and shunned by
all other teams.
But all Rick knows is football, and he insists
that his agent find a team that needs him. Against enormous odds, Rick
finally gets a job—as the starting quarterback for the
Mighty Panthers . . . of Parma, Italy. The Parma Panthers desperately
want a former NFL player—any former NFL player—at their
helm. And now they’ve got Rick, who knows nothing about Parma (not
even where it is) and doesn’t speak a word of Italian. To say
that Italy—the land of fine wines, extremely small cars, and
football americano—holds a few surprises for Rick Dockery
would be something of an understatement.


Average Ratings and Reviews
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Reviews for Playing for Pizza: A Novel:

2

Jan 02, 2008

I started reading John Grisham books when I was the nerdiest sixth grader of all time and thought I'd grow up to be a lawyer. And though I found none of them particularly memorable, I did enjoy his huge slew of legal thrillers back in the day.

Out of pure curiosity I now occasionally pick up one of his more offbeat efforts, like this one about an American quarterback playing semi-pro football in Italy.

This was, quite simply, one of the dumbest and strangest books I've ever read. At times, I started reading John Grisham books when I was the nerdiest sixth grader of all time and thought I'd grow up to be a lawyer. And though I found none of them particularly memorable, I did enjoy his huge slew of legal thrillers back in the day.

Out of pure curiosity I now occasionally pick up one of his more offbeat efforts, like this one about an American quarterback playing semi-pro football in Italy.

This was, quite simply, one of the dumbest and strangest books I've ever read. At times, Grisham delves into such unbelievable detail in entirely extraneous descriptions of Italian food, culture and landmarks that it really seems as though this book's existence may have been the author's calculated ploy to tour Italy on his publisher's dime.

But like many of Grisham's books, Playing for Pizza was hard to put down. It was a train wreck through and through, and I wanted desperately to get to the end so I could determine if a book could really be so stupid.

Yes, it can. And while there were certainly witty aspects and interesting elements of the plot, Playing for Pizza stands as one of the worst books I've ever completed. ...more
4

Feb 21, 2009

I liked this story more than a little. I'm no big sports fan, but I enjoyed hearing about the physical aspects of football as described in this book. I'm also a big food nut, and liked how that was the second focus of this book. There was plenty of good humor. So, if you want a happy feel good book that doesn't strain the brain but makes you wince when the character strains something else. This title should be on your gameplan.

Oh, I also listened to this in the car, and when I did dishes rather I liked this story more than a little. I'm no big sports fan, but I enjoyed hearing about the physical aspects of football as described in this book. I'm also a big food nut, and liked how that was the second focus of this book. There was plenty of good humor. So, if you want a happy feel good book that doesn't strain the brain but makes you wince when the character strains something else. This title should be on your gameplan.

Oh, I also listened to this in the car, and when I did dishes rather than read it. What? I'm multi-tasking. ...more
4

Jul 27, 2008

This is another gem from Grisham in which he gives us a glimpse of his tale-spinning away from the courtroom dramas. This time he whisks us away to Italy. The vivid descriptions of ingredients, foods, and full course meals will make you hungry - reminded me of reading Part 1 of Eat, Pray, Love. This book is a real treat if you enjoy international travel and are a football (NFL that is!) fan. But even if you aren't into quarterbacks you can easily skim the sporty paragraphs and still have a lot This is another gem from Grisham in which he gives us a glimpse of his tale-spinning away from the courtroom dramas. This time he whisks us away to Italy. The vivid descriptions of ingredients, foods, and full course meals will make you hungry - reminded me of reading Part 1 of Eat, Pray, Love. This book is a real treat if you enjoy international travel and are a football (NFL that is!) fan. But even if you aren't into quarterbacks you can easily skim the sporty paragraphs and still have a lot of fun feeling like you are jaunting around Italy along with the main character. ...more
5

Nov 18, 2018

What a fun book to read. This is not a typical Grisham book.

It takes place mostly in Parma, Italy. Rick or "Reek" as he is called in Italy, is the laughing stock of the NFL and reluctantly takes the only job he can get as a quarterback for the Parma Panthers for a very low salary, a room and, a car to use.

He is a fish out of water, but treated like a God. Food, food, food.....you won't believe the food. I really enjoyed the small community and how Reek was pulled in. You should enjoy it too.

If What a fun book to read. This is not a typical Grisham book.

It takes place mostly in Parma, Italy. Rick or "Reek" as he is called in Italy, is the laughing stock of the NFL and reluctantly takes the only job he can get as a quarterback for the Parma Panthers for a very low salary, a room and, a car to use.

He is a fish out of water, but treated like a God. Food, food, food.....you won't believe the food. I really enjoyed the small community and how Reek was pulled in. You should enjoy it too.

If you like football and Italy this book is perfect. If not, you'll still probably like it, but there is some light football talk. Fun book! ...more
2

Dec 23, 2018

Was actually pretty boring. I was expecting it to be more about football and less about finding yourself in a foreign land. Was actually pretty boring. I was expecting it to be more about football and less about “finding yourself in a foreign land”. ...more
2

Jul 24, 2008

A die-hard fan will read anything written by a favorite author, and I am that for John Grisham. I dont always care for the end results, but I will always give his books my all. Last winter I finally got around to reading The Broker in which Grisham none-too-subtly extolled the virtues of the Italian culture. The premise of Playing for Pizza leaves no doubt that his entire point in writing this slim novel is to continue sharing that love affair with his readers. Pizza, above all else, is a A die-hard fan will read anything written by a favorite author, and I am that for John Grisham. I don’t always care for the end results, but I will always give his books my all. Last winter I finally got around to reading The Broker in which Grisham none-too-subtly extolled the virtues of the Italian culture. The premise of Playing for Pizza leaves no doubt that his entire point in writing this slim novel is to continue sharing that love affair with his readers. Pizza, above all else, is a lengthy love letter to Italy.
The story of Pizza is simple and, honestly, not incrediby interesting. A washed-up and mediocre NFL quarterback has only one remaining opportunity to live out his sports dream — playing American football in Parma, Italy; I doubt that a true football fan could have withstood the setting, with so little of it present, and being the furthest thing from that fan, I found this “plot” little more than filler that I was anxious to breeze past. This small thread is barely a narrative as Grisham uses page after page to describe the foods and wine of Parma, the art and architecture, the history of the region. And while that was very interesting to me (and caused me to crave prosciutto and cheese in a way I never had before), I cannot say that I enjoyed this book. Reading it, and completing it, was simply a promise to always read Grisham’s offerings. I did not care for the main character, never seeing redemption in him, and I’ve always felt this was a tenet of Grisham’s novels, so Pizza was sorely lacking in many, many ways. But Playing for Pizza is a true summer novel, slim in size and breezy in content, and I was ready for such a break in my reading. I look forward now to Grisham’s most recent publication, a return to form and the reason I became a fan in the first place.
...more
4

Feb 13, 2008

An entertaining, quick read that will hasten your desire to see Italy. This is a departure from a typical Grisham novel, but it's a refreshing sports story with a romantic twist that will probably be made into a movie someday. Enjoy!
2

Dec 29, 2018

"Rick Dockery walked slowly across midfield as long shadows fell, hands crammed in jean pockets, the aimless stroll of a man in another world."

This was my first time reading John Grisham, and I think it's fair to say that it was a very random choice of book. He's written so many great, critically acclaimed stories and this one is definitely one of his less known, less appreciated works - and I can see why. The thing is, whilst reading, I knew this wasn't the author's supreme novel, that he had "Rick Dockery walked slowly across midfield as long shadows fell, hands crammed in jean pockets, the aimless stroll of a man in another world."

This was my first time reading John Grisham, and I think it's fair to say that it was a very random choice of book. He's written so many great, critically acclaimed stories and this one is definitely one of his less known, less appreciated works - and I can see why. The thing is, whilst reading, I knew this wasn't the author's supreme novel, that he had more in stock, that he had some aces up his sleeve. But this just wasn't one of his aces - in fact it was a bit of a flop, in my opinion. Just so we get a few things clear:
a) I don't know jack about football. The most I know is that the quarterback is always the hot guy at school.
b) I don't know the positions or famous teams.
c) I literally know nothing about football.

Saying this, someone who is interested in the sport might find this book 10 times better than I did. You might be asking yourself - ok, but what made this dumbass pick this book up if the most she knows about football is that it should actually be called "American Football" because football means soccer? I asked myself this question many times - and I still have no answer. But I think the answer lies in the sentimentality and emotional value that I associate with this book due to family reasons. If not, I would have never picked this book up, although the premise is definitely quite interesting.

✔︎ - THE SETTING
Playing for Pizza is set in the delightful city of Parma in Italy, and Grisham really brings its beauty to life. All the descriptions of the little narrow streets, fancy restaurants with delicious food, the little cars, the cafes, the coffee, the architecture and the people, come together to form a stunning setting and one of my favourite aspects of the novel. It perfectly encapsulates a travel junkie's dream. As someone who has always wanted to visit Italy, this book made me want to drop everything, hop on a plane and get myself to Parma and spend my time eating pizza, going on walks around the plazas, drinking coffee and inhaling the county's rich culture.

"What the heck am I doing in Parma, Italy?"

✔︎ - THE FOOD
When I think of Italy, I think of food - pizza, pasta, parmegiano, red wine. And food is talked about A LOT in this book, which is something I always love and appreciate with my entire heart. All the detailed descriptions of the characters' meals made my mouth water and at one point I was so hungry, I had to go get something to eat.

✔︎ - PASSION
I love when people are passionate about something - it's strange, but I find it such an incredible trait in people. When someone is so in love with something that their eyes sparkle and everything just shines in them - and the characters in this book really had this passion for football and it was adorable, admirable and made me love the whole bunch of 'em.
Do I know anything about football?
Nope.
Do I like reading about characters that love football?
Yep.
Weird?
Maybe.
Hotel?
Trivago.
I'm sorry - that was terrible. Oops. I couldn't help myself.

✔︎ - BTS OF AN ATHLETE'S LIFE
I know that some athletes are overpaid, glorified and glamorized - but their lives really aren't all that great. When you perform well, everyone worships you. When you perform badly, everyone turns their backs on you, including your fans - you will be hated on, laughed at, criticized. Your life can become hell. And Rick Dockery's story really does show how mentally strong one needs to be in order to excel in the world of sports, because otherwise one will be torn apart. I'm guessing it wasn't on purpose, but I felt like this book really did cast some light on this issue and the effects it can have on a young person's mental health. If you're interested please take the time to read this article: https://www.google.pl/amp/s/amp.thegu...- , because it really does show you the extent of hatred and discrimination in sport.

✔︎ - HUMOUR
This book could be real funny and witty sometimes - and I love humour in literature. It's so hard to incorporate into writing, yet if done cunningly, can completely enchant the reader. Humour is just really darn nice, okay? And as Zach Anner said "Humour allows people to exhale a little".

✔︎ - TEAM SPIRIT
I love when characters have chemistry, when they build strong friendships in the most unlikely places, when you watch their bond with another person develop over time. When they go through thick and thin together. I don't want to spoil anything for anyone, but you really do get a glimpse of that in this book towards the end - it was very touching.

✘ - BORING AT TIMES
Due to the lengthy descriptions of football games, I felt that the book was slightly tedious. That, of course is my fault, because I'm severely undereducated when it comes to American football, but I still felt like dosing off a few times. It was monotonous, and needlessly repetitive at times. HOWEVER, Grisham really did a good job of writing in a way that you could get what was happening during a game without actually understanding the game itself - so I'm thankful for that (ALSO THE TEAM'S LAST GAME was actually so interesting to read about, so yay!)

✘ - SEXUALIZING WOMEN
I understand that physical attraction exists and it's very important. I get that that guy thinks the girl sitting over there is hot. That's fine, perfectly okay, you are allowed to think that way. There's nothing wrong with that. But, what I don't get is when women are constantly being described in terms of physicality - ONLY, as if they were decorations, and the only thing Rick freaking Dockerty ever does is stare at them creepily and make repulsive, repetitive remarks about their figure. I GET THAT THEY HAVE A NICE FIGURE. But when that is repeated over and over again it kind of deteriorates my patience. The way he looked at women sickened me. At least describe her eyes or her laugh or something that isn't always so concerned with sexuality or physical appearance. What about her intelligence, sense of humour, overall wellbeing. How about women stopped being used as sexual objects? I think that sounds like a plan.

✘ - THE ROMANCE
As I mentioned earlier, the romance was so incredibly fickle and shallow with absolutely no deeper emotional connection that it was hardly romance. Insta-love at its finest.

✘ - UNLIKEABLE PROTAGONIST
I didn't like Rick Dockery - he was arrogant, self-assured, judgemental with the effrontery to talk to people, like they were miles below him. I felt sorry for him and rooted for him at times, but all in all, it's hard to truly like a story with a protagonist that makes you want to throw the book across the room. He did improve over time though and became more tolerable towards the end, so some character development was definitely there.

"The Italian Superbowl. I can’t believe I missed it."

All in all, this book was definitely outside my box and I'd recommend it for the glorious setting, descriptions, atmosphere and sport!

Other than that, I wouldn't. ...more
4

Feb 02, 2008

A good rule to live by is that any book that has detailed descriptions of Italian meals is worth reading. I found Playing for Pizza very enjoyable and no exception to that rule. It tells the story of Rick Dockery, a journeyman third string quarterback in the NFL, who after a disastorous game in which he was the goat, can only find work on a semi-pro football team in Parma, Italy. Somewhat predictably, he rediscovers his love of the game, is welcomed by his gregarious teamates, and discovers the A good rule to live by is that any book that has detailed descriptions of Italian meals is worth reading. I found Playing for Pizza very enjoyable and no exception to that rule. It tells the story of Rick Dockery, a journeyman third string quarterback in the NFL, who after a disastorous game in which he was the goat, can only find work on a semi-pro football team in Parma, Italy. Somewhat predictably, he rediscovers his love of the game, is welcomed by his gregarious teamates, and discovers the joys of Italy as an antidote to his many years of bouncing from apartment to apartment in city after city.

What I really enjoyed about this book, other than the descriptions of meals, is that Grisham wasn't too ambitious. It's a quick, light, fun read. It doesn't have 800 pages to develop the main character. So Rick starts off as only a moderate asshole, essentially a decent guy who has somewhat negatively conformed to the world around him. He doesn't finish the story as a cultured lover of opera and baroque architecture. It's believable. Tolstoy, this is not (I don't know why I say things like that, I've never even read Tolstoy), but it's a really good read. ...more
4

Jun 12, 2008

a departure from Grishams usual, nevertheless i loved this book. the writing seemed so effortless and the characters are enjoyable.
5

Jul 10, 2017

The author grabbed me by the arm and took me on a no-holds-barred, light-hearted adventure through the streets of Parma, Italy and into the world of football - served up Italian style. I eagerly assumed the role of tourist in this charming tucked-away city, sampled wonderful local wines, consumed mouth-watering pastas and cheeses and came to appreciate the hospitable charm of the warm, colorful people reserved only for the fortunate few. Needless to say, I was enthralled to visit there. John The author grabbed me by the arm and took me on a no-holds-barred, light-hearted adventure through the streets of Parma, Italy and into the world of football - served up Italian style. I eagerly assumed the role of tourist in this charming tucked-away city, sampled wonderful local wines, consumed mouth-watering pastas and cheeses and came to appreciate the hospitable charm of the warm, colorful people reserved only for the fortunate few. Needless to say, I was enthralled to visit there. John Grisham delivered a well-written narrative with a superb storybook ending.

Third-string quarterback, Nick Dockery had endured a short-lived roller coaster career in the NFL. He had been traded more times than the common cold. His mediocre career came to a crashing halt when the twenty-eight year old suffered his most disastrous day on the turf. In a nutshell, he blew the Cleveland Browns playoff game for the Super Bowl. Needless to say, he was not a popular man among the many devoted fans. Again, he was pink-slipped.

Understandably, no team in the NFL wanted anything to do with him. Hopelessly, his agent searched high and low and somehow found a team tucked away in Italy that was in need of a quarterback. He agreed to play just one season there for five months at a pittance of what he was used to getting in the NFL. For the first time since his old College days, he was placed as the starting quarterback of the Parma Panthers. That included pizza.

He received a rousing welcome from his new teammates and the locals of the town. After all, he had played in the NFL which gave him a sort of celebrity status. It had felt great to be appreciated once again. It had been a long long time.

Soon he befriended many players of the team. Though nowhere near as popular as soccer, his teammates were serious about their games. Winning was everything. After practice sessions, they all went out together for beer and pizza. Everyone cursed, laughed and drank. It was was like being part of one large family. For an added bonus, his non-existent love life had been rekindled when he met a visiting college student from the States. Turned out, they were a good match.

The team had desperately wanted to win their first Italian Super Bowl. That's all that mattered to them. Their hopes, their dreams were largely invested in Rick. For all his past failures, the one thing he wanted most was redemption. Make-or-break, this was his last chance.

Ciao. ...more
4

Nov 09, 2016

"Playing for pizza" is quite a strange book. Despite being written by Grisham, one of my favorite writers, it is so unlike his typical books, that I could have guessed it was written by, I dunno, Jodi Picoult or someone else, had I not known who actually wrote it.

Now this book's also strange because it has no plot. Basically it's sort of a simplified diary of Rick's life in Italy, or, more like an account of what did he eat, where did he eat, what did he drink, where did he drink, what cafe, "Playing for pizza" is quite a strange book. Despite being written by Grisham, one of my favorite writers, it is so unlike his typical books, that I could have guessed it was written by, I dunno, Jodi Picoult or someone else, had I not known who actually wrote it.

Now this book's also strange because it has no plot. Basically it's sort of a simplified diary of Rick's life in Italy, or, more like an account of what did he eat, where did he eat, what did he drink, where did he drink, what cafe, bar, trattoria or restaurant he visited, what landmarks did he see, and, occasionally, how did turn out a football match he played in.

And you know what? I enjoyed it. It was quite a page-turner for me. Of course it's a short read, and had it been longer, most likely it would have bored me finally, but being as long as it is - just a 7-8 hours read, I had lots of fun. And why wouldn't I? It's a book about Italy, good food, beer, football and even a couple of cute dolls. What more could a man want? (Yes, that's actually sexist and chauvinist and perfectly legit for the last three+ hours - welcome to Orange World!)

As I said, it's a quick read and most certainly not the most intellectual book you've ever seen, but it's quite good and odds-on you'll enjoy it, especially if you read it as a break from "normal" literature. ...more
5

Apr 26, 2009

When Grisham comes away from his cookie cutter legal works he shows an interesting skill as a storyteller. This is a fun and at times funny look at a has been NFL quarterback who chases his football dream to Italy. A fun and at times funny tale well told. Light and quick like much of his non-legal work but far more entertaining than the legal things he writes.
2

Aug 07, 2008

I had never read John Grisham before and had never really thought to give him a try. Naturally, the one time I read him, I read something that's atypical of his usual work. It was my familiarity of his name that prompted me to pick him up at all, and then it was only because I anticipated a long wait at the doctor's office and needed something to read. I don't even read legal thrillers, and I'm really not that into football.

Logical reading choice, isn't it?

But the book had a cute premise: a I had never read John Grisham before and had never really thought to give him a try. Naturally, the one time I read him, I read something that's atypical of his usual work. It was my familiarity of his name that prompted me to pick him up at all, and then it was only because I anticipated a long wait at the doctor's office and needed something to read. I don't even read legal thrillers, and I'm really not that into football.

Logical reading choice, isn't it?

But the book had a cute premise: a third-string NFL quarterback really down on his luck plays for a team in Italy. Who even knew they played American football there?

I was expecting one of those Bad News Bears type of stories, with some romantic comedy thrown in, and while I did get some of that Bad News Bears vibe, I was a little thrown off by the romantic interest. Rick the quarterback didn't end up with the girl that I thought he would, and I wasn't convinced that the girl he did end up with was the love of his life. It disappointed me a little.

Plus, the football scenes kind of dragged for me. I was a cheerleader in high school and college, but that in no way helped me stay engaged in all the descriptions of the plays. I'm sure they would be exciting to any big football fan, but I found myself reading quickly over those passages just to gloss over the highlights and get on with the rest of the story.

Then there's the point of view. Grisham uses the omniscient point of view in this novel, and it was a little jarring at first for me. I've become accustomed to reading deep, true, and consistent third person point of view and started off expecting the entire novel would be in Rick's point of view, especially as it started out that way, and since there is not one scene that doesn't include Rick himself, I felt the omniscient point of view was really unnecessary. I saw everyone else's thoughts and feelings as kind of intrusive head hopping.

But the story was cute. I could see this working as a movie. I especially loved the food scenes, where each dish was lovingly described by the Italians -- made me ravenous for Italian food.

Quick read, light fare.

Finished reading August 14, 2008. ...more
3

Aug 26, 2017

*3.5 stars

This is my second book of John Grisham. I did not expect this at all. The first book being The Associate, I thought Playing For ???? is very much in the same boat. I was so wrong. Hehe.

Reading this book, I don't feel like reading a novel. It was more like travelogue to me. And of course I wish I can go to Italy. It was on my list.

I am not a huge fan of sports. Occasionally I will watch football or they call it soccer in America. Here in Malaysia we called it football. But not that *3.5 stars

This is my second book of John Grisham. I did not expect this at all. The first book being The Associate, I thought Playing For ???? is very much in the same boat. I was so wrong. Hehe.

Reading this book, I don't feel like reading a novel. It was more like travelogue to me. And of course I wish I can go to Italy. It was on my list.

I am not a huge fan of sports. Occasionally I will watch football or they call it soccer in America. Here in Malaysia we called it football. But not that often. So, I don't really understand much apart from the brutality of it. But I enjoyed it. To my surprise of course.

I love Rick. He found his life in Italy. But I kinda not satisfied with the ending. I want to know what his choices are. And of course I wanted to get to know Livvy more. Guess I just have to conclude that on my own then. ...more
2

Jun 21, 2018

A Book for all Seasons topic: something edible in the title

Rick is not a charming guy. And no matter what he may think, being this seasons AFC goat wont get him a place on another football team; well, unless he wants to travel to Italy. A Book for all Seasons topic: something edible in the title

Rick is not a charming guy. And no matter what he may think, being this season’s AFC goat won’t get him a place on another football team; well, unless he wants to travel to Italy. ...more
1

Jan 19, 2017

This book has no point. It is a hallmark/lifetime after school special minus the I can't look away factor.
5

Oct 25, 2011

playing for pizza...... playing for pizza represents many things .... drive.. passion.. love for the game... and true determation. this book got gave to me by my dad i first i thought what in the heck could this mean. so i started reading the first 10 pages i read the first ten pages and got bored. the next day i kept reading as i got into it i couldnt find my self time to put it down. wich is suprising for me since i am not a fan of reading expecially books i dont chose my self. i think that playing for pizza...... playing for pizza represents many things .... drive.. passion.. love for the game... and true determation. this book got gave to me by my dad i first i thought what in the heck could this mean. so i started reading the first 10 pages i read the first ten pages and got bored. the next day i kept reading as i got into it i couldnt find my self time to put it down. wich is suprising for me since i am not a fan of reading expecially books i dont chose my self. i think that one thing that made this book different and un like the other books is that it had drive and edge. once i kept reading on i found that it got boring in the middle about the time he gets totally wasted in the bar reading that part thinking next is going to be a fist kickin fight to the duel wich sadly ends up bringing the two charchters togethrer closer then they where befor shame.! something about this player though rick sets him apart atlthough he is the mosdt hated person in clevland he is still cocky as crap and thinks he is the pimp shiz. wrong everyone wants to kill you dumb nuts. but back to italy so ricks agent get him a team call the parma panthers? not for sure but its not a fairly good team but the coach has motivation and wich helps him out later in the book to win the champoishop of italy. but there is another player on the team from america the running back from college he didnt get drafted looking for a job somewhere kinda left to come to here so the next part is that he finds his love there and she becomes ricks girlfriend and all that good stuff wich i prefer not to talk about..... next he keeps playing nearly giving up after he thinks this isnt worth it i have a degree i donti go use it until he gets some friendly words of ingoraugment. ...more
3

Jan 17, 2018

A washed up NFL player goes to Italy,to ply his trade,with very little offered as compensation.American Football is not of much interest to me,but his adventures in Italy,and a bit of romance kept me interested.What's even more,it's very short for a Grisham book and has a fair bit of humour.


4

Sep 10, 2010

I enjoyed seeing this guy make choices and changes in his life for the better. I didnt want it to end.

REVIEWERS OPINION:
Most of my reviews are on romance novels, so this is off genre for me. This is sports fiction plus some human relationships fiction. I liked it. It reminded me of underdog sports teams and/or athletes finding success or doing something positive. I did not understand some of the football jargon, but I enjoyed the story. As a side note, I believe this author is best known for his I enjoyed seeing this guy make choices and changes in his life for the better. I didn’t want it to end.

REVIEWER’S OPINION:
Most of my reviews are on romance novels, so this is off genre for me. This is sports fiction plus some human relationships fiction. I liked it. It reminded me of underdog sports teams and/or athletes finding success or doing something positive. I did not understand some of the football jargon, but I enjoyed the story. As a side note, I believe this author is best known for his legal suspense thrillers, so this a change of genre for him as well.

STORY BRIEF:
Rick is an NFL backup quarterback who rarely plays. His weakness is that he does things to avoid being tackled rather than make the best play of the moment. He has had three concussions. He had terrible luck in one game causing his team to lose in the last 11 minutes when they had been ahead. No US team wants him, and the press ridicules him. His agent finds a job for him as quarterback for the Parma team in Italy. It doesn’t pay much. In fact, most of the team members are Italian and don’t get paid at all. Rick hadn’t had a serious female relationship in the past and usually found companionship with cheerleaders. He was disappointed that there were no cheerleaders in Parma. The story is about Rick’s life in Italy, the food he eats, and his relationships with the team members. He has trouble parking his stick-shift car. He goes to the opera, which he had never done before. Prior to Italy he didn’t seem to have outside interests. His life was football practice, games, being on the road and dating cheerleaders. In Parma some new things happen including meeting a couple of (non-cheerleader) women which was fun to watch.

MORE REVIEWER’S OPINION:
On his first night in Parma, the coach takes Rick to a local restaurant. The description of Rick eating wonderful food actually motivated me to go to two Italian restaurants. Unfortunately, the restaurants didn’t have the same food that Rick ate. The book starts out a little slow, but Rick grew on me. He did some neat things for the team, and I liked his female experiences. The story had a feel good ending, but I was a little disappointed because I didn’t want it to end.

DATA:
Story length: 306 pages. Sexual language: none. Number of sex scenes: none. Setting: current day U.S. and Italy. Copyright: 2007. Genre: sports and relationships fiction. ...more
2

Jun 09, 2016

Book on CD read by Christopher Evan Welch

Rick Dockery doesnt know anything but football, but hes obviously not very good at it. In six years, he played with eight teams. Now no one wants him, unless its 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 cheerleaders attorneys from 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. ...more
0

Aug 06, 2011

This must rate as one of the most awful books I have ever read. Why didn't I give up after 30 pages? Because I was trapped on a nine hour flight with nothing else to read. It's almost hard to decide where to start insulting this piece of mind-cabbage.



First, I've read most of Grisham's books, and have generally enjoyed them, so this isn't a rant against an author I dislike, but against this particular book. Second, the whole setting is farcical. Americans may enjoy this as they understand This must rate as one of the most awful books I have ever read. Why didn't I give up after 30 pages? Because I was trapped on a nine hour flight with nothing else to read. It's almost hard to decide where to start insulting this piece of mind-cabbage.



First, I've read most of Grisham's books, and have generally enjoyed them, so this isn't a rant against an author I dislike, but against this particular book. Second, the whole setting is farcical. Americans may enjoy this as they understand American Football, and their acquaintance with Italy is likely limited to Pizza Hut, but for Europeans you'd be better reading the Tel Aviv Times (in Hebrew) to understand the rubbish about the football. I note several reviews comment on the food descriptions - but again for Europeans, this is far from unknown - and in fact they weren't even that good.



Third, to the content. A truly feeble plot. The characters are so shallow it's not true (if you met Rick Doherty) you'd have forgotten his name by the time he'd finished speaking, and virtually no character at all was fleshed outl. This was TV Soap Opera written down.



Finally, there is an 'author note' at the end of the book. It comments that the author 'stumbled across' NFL when in Italy. So presumably he thought that was sufficient justification to fleece his readers of some money on some rubbish he probably took a week to write. This book is a big stumble indeed.



I don't think I need to conclude by saying this wasn't a good book. You might have already guessed that. But if it was just poor or disappointing I wouldn't vent this much spleen on it. Howevert, it is an insult to his readers, an insult to non-americans (keep the publication in the US??), and a book I will now always associate with a writer whom I otherwise quite respect. Zero out of ten.



Oops. I've just realised I bought the Associate and it's waiting to be read.I pray for better things. ...more
5

Jun 29, 2013

To be honest, I was not planning on leaving a review. I mean, seriously, this is John Grisham with almost three thousand reviews so who cares about my little grain of sand on an endless beach? But then I read the reviews posted here on Goodreads and decided to voice my own opinion. I started reading John Grisham when I was a sophomore in college and babysitting for my English Lit professors' kids. Needless to say, I devoured those novels like they were going out of style. As much as I love the To be honest, I was not planning on leaving a review. I mean, seriously, this is John Grisham with almost three thousand reviews so who cares about my little grain of sand on an endless beach? But then I read the reviews posted here on Goodreads and decided to voice my own opinion. I started reading John Grisham when I was a sophomore in college and babysitting for my English Lit professors' kids. Needless to say, I devoured those novels like they were going out of style. As much as I love the courtroom drama and the legal stories that make you ignore your daily chores because, damn it, you have to at least finish the chapter, I have to say that Playing for Pizza, for me, was a poetic ode to Italian culture. Why is that a bad thing?
Yes, the descriptions of the sights, smells and tastes are profound and in detail but having lived 7 years in Italy, I practically salivated through each one of those scenes. Maybe those readers who criticized this one particular aspect of the novel had never been to Italy, if such is the case, then I suggest you listen to the audio version, close your eyes and let the descriptions take you away. I loved this book. I loved the fact that Grisham refers to this culture and country as though it were an exquisite woman shedding her clothing and reaching out to him like an irresistible muse. No complaints here. None. ...more
2

Aug 25, 2012

With Playing for Pizza, Grisham once again proves that he should restrict himself to writing legal thrillers. Though not quite as horrible as Skipping Christmas, Playing for Pizza is a novel that probably would not have been published, were it not for its author's famous name.

I am an avid football fan, and reading this novel with yet another week to go before the 2012 football season begins (college and pro), I was able to tolerate the blow-by-blow descriptions of the football games and With Playing for Pizza, Grisham once again proves that he should restrict himself to writing legal thrillers. Though not quite as horrible as Skipping Christmas, Playing for Pizza is a novel that probably would not have been published, were it not for its author's famous name.

I am an avid football fan, and reading this novel with yet another week to go before the 2012 football season begins (college and pro), I was able to tolerate the blow-by-blow descriptions of the football games and practices...up to a point. Grisham, however, far exceeded that point with what seems to be unnecessary filler...much like his ENDLESS description of the food of Parma and later (thanks to Lizzy) the historic architecture/art of northern Italy. (Can you say tax write-off?)

I have always liked Grisham's legal thrillers, but after two unpleasant experiences, I have promised myself to never pick up another non-legal novel by Grisham again. If only the publishers (and John Grisham!) would forgo the "easy money" they make by hoodwinking Grisham's devoted readers!

Two stars just because Skipping Christmas was even worse...this really probably only deserves one and a half. ...more
3

Sep 11, 2012

We listened to this on an audio book from Tye. I agreed with his view that it wasn't great writing, and, for Grisham, not even an intense legal story. It's about a released NFL quarterback who gets picked up to play for a team in Parma, Italy. Tye said Grisham probably went to his editor and offered to write a story there as an excuse to get to live in Italy for a while, and I would buy that supposition. His story was weak but the descriptions of food were mouthwatering. The parmesan cheese and We listened to this on an audio book from Tye. I agreed with his view that it wasn't great writing, and, for Grisham, not even an intense legal story. It's about a released NFL quarterback who gets picked up to play for a team in Parma, Italy. Tye said Grisham probably went to his editor and offered to write a story there as an excuse to get to live in Italy for a while, and I would buy that supposition. His story was weak but the descriptions of food were mouthwatering. The parmesan cheese and parma ham. The pizza and pasta. The wines. And the nice Italian people. We will be there next week savoring it all (ok, not the wines). Can't wait. And the story was worth it just for the descriptions. Ciao! ...more

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