Football, Italy, and lack of a plotline - this can't be a John Grisham novel. "Playing for Pizza" is a disappointing departure from his usual well-written legal dramas. There were many personal relationships and sub-plots that could have been developed in this story, but weren't.
The book might be interesting to people who enjoy the blow-by-blow details of a football game, but did not hold my attention. I found myself skipping pages at a time, as he described football plays in excruciating detail. I'm very disappointed.
What I liked about this book is that I've never read anything like it. Although the characterization doesn't go much deeper than cliched stereotypes, the story of a humiliated underdog finding his place in the world is a fun read.
Not your normal Grishman novel but good none the less. Difficult to describe to someone else but I found myself seeing the world through the main characters eyes. How he had a life all planned out and it didn't quite work the way he expected, so he took a detour and found a whole new life. A nice Sunday afternoon read.
If you liked "A Painted House" and "Bleachers" (and I did), you will like this too. Laid back, easy reading, Grisham manages to give his main character depth without too much detail. Great reading for a plane flight; just long enough to kill a few hours.
Ladies, if you are a Grisham fan, even though this is about football, don't let that turn you off. As are all his books, it is well written and is about human nature, not the game and even has some romance. Quick read, well worth the time.
Although there was a lot of football play-by-play, which went over my head, I still caught the excitement of the games. I thoroughly enjoyed all the things Italian, and I felt as if I had a real grasp on life in Parma. Grisham made the town and its people come to life for me.
I recommend this book. I hope you find it a fun read too!
I haven't read any of Grisham's other books, but from what I understand, this is a different style for him. This story is of an American football player whose only hope of playing another season lies in the small town of Parma, Italy, of Parmesan cheese fame. Rick Dockery arrives dressed in Florida golf wear and not sure what to expect. What he finds is a team that plays for the love of the game, not for money, and a comradery that crosses language barriers. He also finds a different culture, that appreciates long meals with good food and good company. I got lost in some of the football details of the story, but the characters were so well portrayed that it didn't even matter. Definitely worth all the attention it received.
This was my favorite Grisham, a very different theme, and yet it was very much in his readable style. The characters are real people who just grab your attention and make this the great story it is. I almost think if I were there I would be looking for those people even though I know it is a novel. . . . Come on, ideas have to come from somewhere.
I always enjoy reading John Grisham's novels. He has a style that's both whimsical and nostalgic. You can really "feel" what his characters are feeling. The main theme of his book centered around football. An NFL quarterback named Rick throws a record number of interceptions during an important playoff game, and the only football team that his agent can get him signed up for is the Parma Panthers...in Italy. I'm really not an avid fan of football, nor do I understand many of the plays and strategies. So, these technical areas in the book were kinda boring to me. However, I still rejoiced when the Panthers, led by quaterback Rick (pronounced REEK in Italian!)won, and felt bad when they suffered.
In my opinion, it's impossible to read a Grisham novel and not learn something about human nature. A book that provides this kind of insight (along with a close look at Italian culture)could never be considered dull. It's well worth the read.
This is a lighthearted, fun read. If you like football and can follow a game (and enjoy it!) then you'll enjoy this book too! Not Grisham's usual law type book, but his writing style still shows through with development of character and plot that implore you to continue reading. My husband and I kept snatching the book from each other to read it whenever we had a free second!
Grisham has changed course and it is a lark. It is equal parts football, food, Italy travel guide, and feel good come from behind story. It's a fun read (even for us ladies) and is based on some of Grisham's experiences in Italy.
This is an entertaining little story, based on actual American-style football as played in Italy, about an ex-NFL Quarterback who goes to play in the Italian league in Parma, Italy. The central character, Rick, the Quarterback has been cut multiple times from various NFL teams but isn't ready to quit playing football, so off he goes (reluctantly) to the Italian "NFL" as his American career is now over.
The story evolves as Rick attempts to blend into Italian life while learning to accept his new role on the Parma Panthers (his new team). His teammates are absolutely thrilled to have a real NFL Quarterback (even a 3rd string guy who couldn't keep his previous jobs). Being loved and admired by his team is certainly not something Rick has ever experienced before. As you would expect, Rick and his teammates all learn something from each other and begin to meld into a cohesive winning team. Along the way, Rick meets a pretty, perky, ex-cheerleader college girl in Italy studying art and history. The story is building towards the big playoff, the Italian Super Bowl and whether or not Rick really has the desire to step outside his comfort zone to achieve true success as a Quarterback on the field, and whether or not he is ready to make personal commitments off the field.
John Grisham has written this story based on some real events, with lots of literary latitude, using humor and poignancy, and quite a bit of descriptive narrative about the history, art, food, people, and yes, football to tell what is essentially a love story.
This book was a pleasant read, but it lacked the "wow" factor. I felt the story line was very predictable and the ending seemed like Grisham was bored with the story and decided to end it too soon. If you are looking for a book to read while you are drifting off to sleep at night, this one is it. It doesn't take much effort to read and follow. I did enjoy the descriptions of Italy though.
I normally go for Romances and so I passed this book up many times on the PBS posted list. Picked it up at my local Salvation Army and was sorry I passed it up before! Being a football fan I thoroughly enjoyed this book from page 1! This was definitely my favorite John Grisham book and it had me wishing I could be in Italy!
If you are seeking a hard-hitting Grisham book, this is not for you. This charming book sends an American football player to Italy where he discovers himself and rediscovers his love of football. It's a wonderful read and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
He's best known for his legal thrillers but my first foray into John Grisham was a non-legal thriller called Playing for Pizza, a fictional account of third-string NFL quarterback Rick Dockery.
Dockery has spent most of his NFL career as a journeyman with the most recent stop in Cleveland. The story kicks off with the AFC Championship game where the Browns are facing the Denver Broncos.
After injuries to the first and second string quarterbacks, Dockery enters the game with 11 minutes remaining in the fourth quarter and a 17 point lead. What follows is one of the worst single game performances in NFL history; Dockery turns the ball over multiple times and the Browns lose. Hes cut from the team almost immediately and instantly becomes the most vilified figure in Cleveland.
As a free-agent with no offers and pending legal trouble the NFLs most infamous goat decides to play football in Italy in a league that amounts to nothing more than semi-pro.
Considering Grisham was the top selling author of the 90s (with 60,742, 288 books sold) I was expecting a little more dramatic flair- this is light and fairly predictable. Nevertheless, I found it to be entertaining and fun, mostly because of the football element.
Publishers Weekly wrote, the writing sometimes lapses into travel-guide and food porn, but it's invigorated by appealing characters and lively play-by-play. I couldnt have said it better myself.
As soon as a John Grisham book is published, I am extremely anxious to get my hands on it, however, I was several months late in knowing about this book. I understand why. It is a different genre for him and his legal thrillers. I honestly was not thrilled with this book. The football details began to bore me along the way. I would have liked some characters and plot lines to be developed more. In my oh so humble opinion, I think John Grisham should stick to what he knows best. I think he is a fantastic author that has found his niche in the market, and should stick to it.
Having never read a John Grisham novel before about anything, "Playing for Pizza" is a good, light read that serves as an accurate microcosm of what life might be like for a journeyman NFL quarterback...who, in this case, had fallen upon the hardest professional times possible. A good un-ugly American abroad story that gives the reader a flavor of what a real Italy is all about with its colorful and its got-a-bear-hug-on-life people. Overall, it made me hugely hungry for great authentic Italian food and giving me a longing to visit the cradle of civilization where life is lived to its fullest, not endured.
In just 11 minutes, third-string quarterback Rick Dockery, ruined his NFL career forever. Playing for the Cleveland Browns in the AFC championship game Rick was unexpectedly called upon when the first and second string quarterbacks were taken out of the game with 11 minutes to go. In those 11 minutes Rick blew a 17 point lead by throwing two interceptions and getting sacked so bad he ended up in the hospital.
When he woke up from his concussion not one NFL team would touch him with a 10-foot pole. Angry fans even started a riot at the hospital. So Rick was pleasantly surprised when his agent called with an offer to play for the Panthers. But Rick wasnt off to Carolina. He was on his way to Parma, Italy.
With Italian football, each team is allowed 3 paid Americans. The rest of the team is made up of players who play for free because they love of American football. The Panthers look upon Rick as their savior. They think he can lead them to the Italian Superbowl to defeat their rival team. But to Rick, Parma is the last place on earth he wants to be and it shows.
My husband is a huge John Grisham fan so I originally picked this one up for him. After he read it he loved it so much that I had to see what all the fuss was about and I loved it too. Rick grows so much as a character in this book and the Parma team just cracks me up. There is a guy with plenty of unnecessary butt clenching, a judge that takes his aggression out on the field and an Italian football diva that liven up the story with their antics.
Ricks romantic interest really threw me in this book. He didnt end up with who I thought he would but I still enjoyed the romance. This is a really fun book that I recommend to all fiction lovers.
Light read, e.g. not much of a plot and not much character development. OK story, but if you've read the back cover, you've basically read the book. The hero is a strong-armed but underperforming QB, a la Jeff George or Todd Marinovich, and it might have been nice to have more development of his character, but then, that isn't what John Grisham does.
Interesting book and not what you'd expect from John Grisham. Except the character is a guy who is a likeable person in a situation. I would love to go to Italy some day. The book is a story about a football player and I also enjoy Football so it was a 'win-win' book for me.
I really enjoyed it.
Rick Dockery the third-string quarterback for the Cleveland Browns gives what might be the single worst performance in the history of the NFL in an AFC Championship game. He is cut by the Browns and is shunned by all other football teams. Since Rick still wants to play, he gets a job as the starting quarterback for the Mighty Panthers of Parma, Italy. So off Rick goes to Italy, even though he does not speak a word of Italian, and neither does he know anything of the culture of Italy.
This book does not have a complicated plot, and many of the characters seem to be uncomplicated also. I read half the book the first night, but it did not really grab my attention, and I did not read anymore. I do not know that much about football, and there are many descriptions in the book of football games. There are some descriptions of delicious meals, and my mouth was watering for some of the Parma cuisine.
The book seems different from other John Grisham books. It might be a good book to read at the beach.
What a refreshingly different book from Grisham. Just as I had decided I couldn't handle another lawyer/courtroom story my dental hygienist recommended Playing for Pizza. If you are a football fan you will probably LOVE it. I'm just a football widow and the last thing I would have believed was that I could enjoy a football story. I guess if you are John Grisham you can make anything exciting and hard to put down.
For fans of The Broker and The Firm, this is a step in a different direction. Generally light hearted, and no one is out to get you, unless you're on the football field. I enjoyed this book immensely. It is as well written as The Broker or The Firm, with the same attention to detail. I read it over my vacation, and I highly recommend it.
This story was fabulous! I did not except to love it, only like it as I am a Grisham fan. The story is about Rick, an NFL washout who ends up playing for the Parma Panthers in Italy. It is more than just a story about football. The story is really about a spoiled American football player who grows up in Italy. The story also shares a lot about the Italian culture, history, opera, food, with a bit of a love story woven in.... I am sure I'll read it again. For me it deserves an easy 5*'s.
Even if you don't really care that much about football, this short book by Grisham is a fun story - one that might make you think a little bit about your priorities. And if you're like me - it might make you wonder if you can find a job in Parma - even if it is only for pennies - or pepperoni. Good fun.
Even though I'm not what you'd call a big football fan, I enjoyed the story line of this book. Rick, the main character, is charming and you have to like him and sympathize with him. But, I thought the book ended abruptly. Some of the sub-plots were never resolved. It was like Grisham decided, "Hey! enough of this. I need to get to another story now."
This book arrived on accident, so it sat a while. I'm a Grisham fan though. It took me a couple chapters to start to get into the theme. I readily admit to attending football more for the family social aspect than for the interest in strategy and game. So I hope that explains my viewpoint.
I couldn't feel sorry for a washed up jock (get a life and work like the rest of us) until he took the offer in Italy. Somehow reading about someone who had such a passion for his sport that he'd go to Italy, live somewhere he'd never visited, didn't know the language, culture, etc.
The details Grisham picked up about the lifestyle, food, entertainment, even the countryside made this so enjoyable that when I realized I only had one chapter remaining I was a bit sad that it was ending.
There are enough football play/strategy details that I suspect my husband might even read the book and enjoy it - before I post it!
This was a quite enjoyable book! It's nothing like Grisham's courtroom dramas, so if that's what you like about Grisham, this book probably isn't for you. It is a light, easy read with enjoyable characters and a fun story line. Men and women both will like this novel - Grisham successfully writes for both, as usual.
It's a different kind of book for John Grisham but it's every bit as good as his legal
thrillers. All the main character, Rick Dockery, knows is football and when he finally gets a job as a starring quarterback, it's in Italy. He doesn't speak any Italian and doesn't even know where the Italian city is. To say that the land of fine wines, very small cars, and 'football americano' holds a few surprises for him would be an understatement. I's a lighthearted story of football and a good tale of maturing and finding your way in the world.
A very enjoyable book! Humorous and heartwarming. A unique tale of one career ending mistake that casts him out of the world of American football into a whole new culture of Italian football and the hurdles involved. A fun to read Grisham story.
This was not your typical Grisham trial, lawyer noval. It was a great story and kept me wanting to read more to see what would unfold next. The main character, Rick, was an honest guy, never wavering from his responsibilities as quarterback. I liked that! It's a good read!
Another great book by Grisham that's hard to put down. No great mystery involved in this story, but the plot about a has-been football player who tries to play in Italy keeps you wondering. An easier read than some Grisham novels...no legal jargon.
Different from Grisham's legal thrillers, but since I am a football fan who really wants to visit Italy, I enjoyed it immensely. As usual, the author fleshes out his characters so that I felt like I knew them personally.
This is nothing like any of John Grisham's other books. I found the whole book revolved around football and didn't have much of a plot besides the main character playing football. I kept thinking it had to get better and I read it until the end but it didn't work for me.
Ready for something off the beaten path? This was a really great change of pace in a book. I picked this book up because I have been a lifelong Cleveland Brown's fan, one who lives in northern Indiana. Too I wanted to revisit John Grisham as it had been several years since I picked up one of his books. I still remember reading "The Firm" my first Grisham book and how the pages flew by. This is a little different from his normal pen, and quite a breath of fresh air. I would even recommend this book for those of the opposite sex and those partners who hate football. She might even find herself wanting to sneak a peak at football after reading the book! The story finds itself revolving around Rick Dockery who is a 3rd string Quarterback for the Cleveland Browns. Basically he enters the title game after an injury to the other two Quarterbacks ahead of him on the NFL roster. I will let you read what takes place in the book, but basically it leads to Rick's downfall in the NFL, and an agent who has a tough time finding him a gig after the downfall. Soon Rick is out of the country and playing Quarterback for a foreign pro team "The Parma Panthers" in Italy. What enspires is a coming of age book and Rick finding himself not just in the game of football. Along the way you get a flair for the life in a foreign country, tasting the food, seeing the sights, learning the customs and ways, and even a little romance is thrown in. I never had much of a desire to travel abroad, but this book makes me think twice on that stance as I love the tastes and sights set forth in this book. I really felt as though I could smell and taste the tantalizing food set on the tables before the players. Not only that, but could see the sights taken in by our main character and hear the language. If your ready to embark on a trip to Italy, and learn a little about the food, and perhaps even learn a little about our innner selves as we can feel the dissapointments of our main character, then pick up this book and score a touchdown then savor the moment when you finish it. Quite a delightful read and perhaps one of my favorites of Grisham.
This book is much different from others that Grisham has written. Perhaps if I were male and/or loved football, I would have enjoyed reading it more. There is lots of game technology that I didn't really understand, but it was interesting and very spirited as I read about the games. It is definitely well reseached. I enjoyed it, but not my favorite.
Katie H. reviewed Playing for Pizza. John Grisham on
This was a very pleasant book. A change from the legal books he usually writes and I thoroughly enjoy, Grisham entertained me as usual with this story of a wayward football player looking for his place in the world.
I love Grisham, and was very excited to read a book that would be a departure from his usual genre... But I was a bit disappointed in "Playing For Pizza". The characters didn't develop as well as they could have, and the ending did not provide any kind of closure- almost like he just got bored & decided to wrap it up real quick. I also could have lived without the pages upon pages of blow-by-blow football action, but that's just personal preference. The thing I really loved was that you could see Grisham's style shine through in the good parts.
I am, and will continue to be, a huge fan :)
Every once in awhile John Grisham writes out his normal genre. This story is about a third-rate football player who gets cut from the Cleveland Browns and goes to play on a team in Parma, Italy. American football in Italy is NOT a national pasttime and our "hero" does not speak Italian. It is a good story and I enjoyed it.
I really enjoyed reading this book. The chapters are short so it was a fast read. John Grisham is a very good writer and really kept my attention. This is really a good book for men but I think women would find it entertaining as well, especially if you love football.
I bought this book because I enjoy John G. as an author. But this book had no legal mystery central idea to it. I think this book is more for guys than for gals, even the love story is missing some of the details I usually enjoy in a good book but my husband tells me guys don't need all those lovey dovey details we do. but despite all this, I enjoyed the book and even learned a little about football in the process, LOL.
This one steps away from the usual thing that John Grisham writes. It is an off-beat and humorous story about an American NFL quarterback who ends up playing football in Italy of all places and his adventures along the way. If you have ever played any organized sports, especially football, you will find this one funny.
Rick Dockery is third string quarterback for the Cleveland Browns. He gets into a championship game and plays the worst game ever. The Browns cut him. He asks his agent to finds another team. Against all odds he gets to be a starting quarterback for a team. The Mighty Panthers of Parma, Italy.
Rick is desperate so he takes the job. He does not speak Italian or has never been to Europe, so Rick finds many surprises In Italy and learns some things about himself as well. Great read or gift.
I absolutely loved this book, the imagery is wonderfull, the story line keeps you hooked. I am a football fan, but I am not sure it is necessary because the story is the culture, a life changed and finding your way after bad things happen. A wonderful read, read it in two days, quick and enthralling. I could taste the food and see the land described.
This book is I thought one of John grishams best, I don't think all of the best books that he writes has to be about the law and this is a great book for the lover of travel and football (American Football).I give it at least a 4 star from John Grisham.
I ordered this audio CD version because I had previously read Grisham's Skipping Christmas and thought it one of the most hilarious books I'd ever read. Playing for Pizza wasn't as good - I don't understand a thing about football, but I enjoyed the audio version. It was easy to listen to and I especially enjoyed hearing the plot unfold as Dockery began to slow down and enjoy life in Italy.
John Grisham likes to overstuff the middle of his books with too much info. Too many descriptions. As with most of his books, the beginning is fabulous. So funny I could barely put it down-til the middle. Of course the finish was well done to make it worth the trip. A fan of football who is knowledgeable of what goes on in the game will love this book-especially a guy.
As Grisham books go, it was better than some. interesting viewpoint on American football in Italy. Interesting review on Italian food, Italian architecture, but like several of his books it fails to really have an end. Like the author reached a point and just stopped writing. I wouldn't recommend NOT reading it. Just don't expect a full feeling when your done.