Thursday, September 4, 2014

Playing for Pizza by John Grisham

I picked up the six CD version of this audio book at the library, having read nearly everything else Grisham has written over the years, hoping it would keep us entertained on our ten hour drive to the coast. It proved to be a witty and interesting story, not so much for the struggles of its protagonist, washed-up football player, Rick Dockery, but for the skillful way Grisham taught us all about Italy on the way to the Long Beach Peninsula.

Dockery has been cut from his sixth NFL team in eight years, after a disastrous series of interceptions in Cleveland's playoff game, when he single-handedly lost the championship for them and ended up in the hospital with his third severe concussion. His agent, Arnie, decides it would be best for him to get out of town - WAY out of town! - and finds him a job playing quarterback for a football team composed of has-beens and half-baked pigskin fanatics in Parma, Italy. At first it's just an escape and a very low-paying job, but eventually, as we might expect, Dockery begins to warm to Italy, its food, its people, and its culture.

Narrated in an upbeat style which didn't put us to sleep while driving, the book was fun, and managed to kill about half of the trip in either direction for us. We loved the descriptions of leisurely Italian meals, full of pasta, wine and loud, passionate conversations, and got a kick out of Rick's first immersion in  Italian opera, which left him hopelessly enamored of a beautiful soprano named Gabriella.

A few twists, a few turns, even a few familiar devices to stretch out the tension at times, definitely one of Grisham's more amusing works.

No comments: