Title: Playing for Pizza
Author: John Grisham
First published January 1, 2007
262 pages, Hardcover
ISBN: 9780385525008 (ISBN10: 0385525001)
Meet Rick Dockery, the former NFL quarterback who became a national laughingstock after a single disastrous game. With his football career in shambles, Rick’s agent finally lands him a starting position with the Parma Panthers, an Italian football team.
Even though he knows nothing about the country, its culture, or its language, Rick decides to give it a shot. But what he finds in Italy is beyond his wildest dreams – a new team, a new love, and a new chance to prove himself on the field.
Join Rick on his journey as he tackles the challenges of a new country and a new football team in John Grisham’s heartwarming novel, Playing for Pizza.
About the Author
With nearly fifty languages having translated his works, John Grisham is the author of forty-seven consecutive bestsellers. His latest books, including The Judge’s List, Sooley, and A Time for Mercy, the third Jake Brigance novel, is being developed into a limited series by HBO.
Grisham has been twice awarded the Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction and received the Library of Congress Creative Achievement Award for Fiction.
When not writing, Grisham is actively involved with two national organizations, the Innocence Project and Centurion Ministries, which are dedicated to exonerating individuals who have been wrongly convicted. Through his fiction, he delves into the systemic problems of our criminal justice system.
John Grisham resides on a farm in central Virginia.
Playing for Pizza by John Grisham, published in 2007, is a departure from the author’s usual legal thrillers. In this novel, Grisham takes readers on a journey to Italy to experience the world of American football through the eyes of a washed-up quarterback, Rick Dockery.
The plot of the novel revolves around Rick’s struggle to find a new team after his career-ending fumble in the AFC Championship game. He jumps at the chance to join the Parma Panthers, a football team in Italy.
The team is made up of a mix of Italian players and washed-up Americans like Rick. Rick initially heads to Italy with a bad attitude, feeling that he is too good to be playing for a small Italian team.
He is soon humbled by the love of the game exhibited by his new teammates and the passion of the Italian fans. Through his experiences with the Panthers, Rick begins to rediscover his love for the game and himself.
Grisham’s writing style is simple and easy to read, which allows the reader to focus on the characters and their motivations. Rick’s character is relatable, and readers can sympathize with his reluctance to embrace a new culture and start a new chapter in his life.
The football games are described in vivid detail, making the reader feel as if they are a part of the action. The novel also touches on themes of culture shock, love, and redemption.
Playing for Pizza is not a groundbreaking novel by any means, but it is an enjoyable and heartwarming read. The novel is not without its shortcomings, however.
The pacing of the story could have been better, as events seem to take a bit too long to unfold. Additionally, some of the characters are not as well-developed as others.
While the Italian characters are richly portrayed, some of the American characters are thinly drawn. One unique aspect of the novel is its depiction of the love of American football in Italy, where soccer is king.
Grisham does an excellent job of highlighting the cultural differences between the United States and Italy, including the role of food and family in Italian culture. Overall, Playing for Pizza is a solid read for fans of John Grisham or those looking for a heartwarming sports story.
The novel earns a rating of 3 out of 5 stars for its well-crafted characters and themes, but its pacing and character development hold it back from being a truly great novel.