Monday, January 5, 2015
Playing for Pizza by John Grisham
Rick Dockery was the third-string quarterback for the Cleveland Browns. In the AFC Championship game, to the surprise and dismay of virtually everyone, Rick actually got into the game. With a 17-point lead and just minutes to go, Rick provided what was arguably the worst single performance in the history of the NFL. Overnight, he became a national laughingstock—and was 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. . . .
John Grisham diverts away from his standard courtroom fare and gave us something totally different, refreshing and entertaining in the form of the classic American football. Set in a country where football as the world knows it is a national sports, American football in Italy is just too strange to comprehend.
Yet, Playing for Pizza is a delightful read although there isn't much of a storyline but then in the hands of a master writer like John Grisham, there are times when a storyline is really not necessary as characters just come alive as he writes life into them.
Playing for Pizza is a very easy read even if American football is not your thing. The main character in Playing for Pizza is Rick Dockery, a professional football player that isn't a very good player. Due to a snafu, he was terminated from his contract but his agent found him a spot in a football team all the way in Europe. That's when things get interesting and readers are treated to something different than what John Grisham normally offers.
For me it was a good treat for a rather quiet weekend and certainly no regrets there.