Friday, November 21, 2014

Semi-Tough by Dan Jenkins

For several decades, I owned a copy of Semi-Tough, and its follow-on novels, Dead Solid Perfect and Life Its Ownself. It was just one of those light hearted tales that stuck with me, and prompted me to read it over and over. Recently, while going through my library, though, I couldn't find it or any of Jenkins' books, so I must have loaned them out to someone who needed them worse than I - or they would have returned them, right?

So be from memory.

By the way, there was a movie called Semi-Tough that starred Burt Reynolds, Kris Kristofferson, and Jill Clayburgh, I think. It wasn't nearly as entertaining as the novel, though one scene really cracked me up - the one with the Motorman's Friend. Other than that, it was a snoozer for me.

Semi-Tough is the story of the weeks leading up to the Super Bowl from the point of view of Billy Clyde Puckett, quarterback from Fort Worth, Texas, starring his two best and oldest friends, Marvin "Shake" Tiller, wide receiver, and the only girl who ever really "got" them, Barbara Jean Bookman, whose daddy is in the "oil bidness".

This novel meanders along a crooked path, making fun of racial prejudice, the NFL, Texans, the oil bidness, and what passes for high society in Forth Worth. Bill Clyde's team has to play "the dog-ass Jets" for the championship, and there's no love lost between the squads. Having been written in 1972, it's well seasoned with sex, drugs and rock and roll - or perhaps rockabilly country western. By today's standards, the novel is pretty tame, and would only be offensive to the stridently politically correct, I suppose.

If you run across a copy, pick it up and read it...or send it my way. Mine is still AWOL.

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