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Playing for Pizza: A Novel
by John Grisham

Published: 2012-01-31
Mass Market Paperback : 320 pages
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6 members have read this book
Recommended to book clubs by 3 of 3 members

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

Rick Dockery is the third-string quarterback for the Cleveland Browns. In the AFC Championship game, to the surprise and dismay of virtually everyone, Rick actually gets into the game. With a seventeen-point lead and just minutes to go, Rick provides what is ...

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Introduction

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

Rick Dockery is the third-string quarterback for the Cleveland Browns. In the AFC Championship game, to the surprise and dismay of virtually everyone, Rick actually gets into the game. With a seventeen-point lead and just minutes to go, Rick provides what is arguably the worst single performance in the history of the NFL. Overnight, he becomes a national laughingstock—and is 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.

Editorial Review

Playing for Pizza: A Q&A with John Grisham

Q: American football in Italy seems like an unlikely subject for a John Grisham novel. What was the inspiration for Playing for Pizza?

A: Three years ago when I was in Bologna researching "The Broker", I discovered American football. One of my guides in the area played football for the Bologna Warriors for 10 years. I couldn't believe that American football actually existed there, but the more I heard about it the more intrigued I became.

Q: There is some great football writing in this novel. What kind of research was involved in capturing how this American institution is played in small town Italy?

A: The only way to research the book was to go to Parma and watch a game. The coach is an American who played at Illinois State, and he proved to be extremely valuable. I met many of the Italian players and the story simply unfolded.

Q: Speaking of research, you write lovingly of Italian food and wine in this book. What's your idea of the perfect Italian meal?

A: First course: prosicutto and melon; second course: stuffed tortellini; third course: roasted stuffed capon, all served with a great Barolo wine.

Q: Without giving away too much of the plot, your protagonist falls in love by the novel's end. Did you know when you started writing that Rick would get the girl?

A: Of course.

Q: You have a new legal thriller coming in January 2008. Can you give us any hints about what to expect?

A: I really don't like to talk about a book until it's finished. Sorry. But it will not be another work of non-fiction, nor will it be about football. Lots of lawyers in the next one.


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Book Club Recommendations

Eat it with Italian Food
by mlj1954 (see profile) 05/13/15
The book will give you all kinds of ideas about what to eat.

Member Reviews

Overall rating:
 
 
  "not your typical John Grisham"by mlj1954 (see profile) 05/13/15

This is a quick, fun read. Perfect for a summer vacation. In fact, I read it on vacation then handed it over to my husband. He liked it more than I did.

 
by kilgroep (see profile) 04/19/15

 
  "Everything Italian <3"by sweetee (see profile) 08/31/10

"Playing for Pizza" by John Grisham

You don’t need to love football or even know much about it to enjoy this wonderful Grisham novel. I am a huge John Grisham fan. I have read each and

... (read more)

 
  "Playing for Pizza"by reds285 (see profile) 06/02/10

This was a fun book to read, unfortunately I was unable to finish it due to time constraints.

 
  "Italy, football and italian food"by rughemie (see profile) 05/19/08

I agree with swarner87's review. I was very disappointed.

 
  "Italy, Food, & Football...and not much else"by swarner87 (see profile) 05/11/08

I haven't read much of Grisham over the past several years and guess I was just expecting something quite different. This book really failed to hold my attention because of the lack of relatable characters... (read more)

 
  "Good book - but not one of Grisham's best"by Wendy56 (see profile) 10/17/07

This book was a nice easy read - but too predictable.

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