Customer Reviews for

Playing for Pizza

Average Rating 4
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

This book is like the minnisota vikings...really good, but not great.

Playing for Pizza by John Grisham
When I checked this novel out from the library, I had predicted how it would unfold. And I turned out to be completely right. I did this with some assistance from the blurb. The main character, Rick Dockery, is a sub-par quarterba...
Playing for Pizza by John Grisham
When I checked this novel out from the library, I had predicted how it would unfold. And I turned out to be completely right. I did this with some assistance from the blurb. The main character, Rick Dockery, is a sub-par quarterback that loves to play the game. After he is cut from his most recent NFL team, Rick signs with a team in Italy. And from that I came to the conclusion that it would be somewhat of a comedy that deals with him adjusting to Italian culture, while at the same time trying to help his new team win a championship. So yes it¿s a very predictable plot.
But that doesn¿t automatically bring down the quality of the book. It had a very good message: the NFL lifestyle is over luxurious, and there¿s really no passion for the game. In the Italian league, with exception to the American players, there are no salaries. The Italian athletes see pro football as a club, and have actual careers to support their financial needs. And they are fine with that. They have the passion for the sport that is missing, for the most part, from pro football in America. That is the theme I love from this novel.
Before when I said I predicted it was a comedy, that¿s on overstatement. Grisham has a way of wording things. When I hear them in my head as I read, they are really funny. This happens especially when Rick is practicing for the first few times with his new team. As you would have guessed the skill level in a Europe league is far below that of the NFL, and they have a different style of practice. So consequently Rick has trouble adjusting to the skill level of his offensive line and wide receivers. The way Grisham delineates Rick¿s frustration is very funny.
Something else I like about this book is the references to the real world. Several times Grisham mentions real NFL teams and players. And apparently the way Italian culture is portrayed here is very accurate. All the Italians teams are real, and the reputations are real. For example, in the text, the Bergamo Lions is the powerhouse of the league, and has one the championship the past nine years in a row. I looked this up on internet and its true. That is a big positive for me.
But no book is perfect. And Playing for Pizza is exhibit A to this statement. The ending was quite the disappointment. I¿m not going to spoil anything, but let¿s just say it leaves the reader very clueless about the future of Rick¿s career. This was something I was intrigued with and was looking forward learning how it played out. But Grisham leaves it up to the reader¿s imagination. I hate it when authors do that.
Another flaw is the many things Rick gets involved in besides football. The most annoying of which are his numerous Italian love interests. Rick has spends a lot of times thinking about girls, two in particular, and whenever I got to one of these chapters I felt very inclined to just skip it. It just seemed to get in the way from what the book could have been. I understand the setting is in Italy and it would be hard to ignore this theme, but it would probably be worth it. I chose this book because it had to do with football, not romance. But there is enough football that it can get confusing for someone who is unfamiliar with the game. By this I mean there is frequent use of football terms. This is no problem whatsoever for me, but could frustrate some people.
But the pros greatly overpower the cons, and overall it was an enjoyable read. I highly

posted by 491326 on December 1, 2008

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Most Helpful Critical Review

3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

Check it out!

A fun book to read if you like food and football. Light expose. Different from John Grisham's usual legal fare. Makes you want to go to Italy!

posted by kteachML on November 21, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 8, 2014

    Sun

    Next res? Lol.

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  • Posted May 26, 2009

    Meh...

    A book about a football player in Italy. I thought it was pretty boring and quick. John Grisham doesn't like to spend too much time on one thing and doesn't go in depth. It quickly moves from one event to another, and can be pretty lifeless most of the time. If you're looking for a good football book, this is not it. If you're looking for a romance, this is not it. It's just a book that will pass your time. If you're reading it to find out what happens in the end, i recommend you read the summary online.

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  • Posted February 16, 2009

    Mediocre at best

    I'm a huge Grisham fan but have found when he strays from his legal/lawyer format he can become pretty boring. The Painted House was the best of his non-legal works. Playing for Pizza was just OK for the first half but then really began to bog down and I could hardly wait to be done with it and get to "The Associate"!<BR/><BR/>Williger

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2008

    Boring

    Very boring book that I could barely get through. If you like football you might enjoy it more. I skipped all the football plays, but the rest of the book wasn't great either.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 14, 2008

    No Heart

    The book had an interesting and predictable storyline, but something was missing. Parma came alive in Grisham's hands. A pity the characters didn't. The book had no heart where people were concerned. I preferred reading about the food and wine than about the hero Rick. He left me cold.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 14, 2008

    Grisham formulaic?

    Playing For Pizza is a cute concept to which we can all relate. Who does not feel that his or her talents are underappreciated and that it is only 'bad luck' that prevents success. The basic premise is of course incredible. A person who is afraid of being 'hit' would never make it to the quarterback role in High School, much less the NFL. But good stories can be based on incredible assumptions, I guess. The problem with this book is that it appears Grisham (or his ghost writers -- this does not read like vintage Grisham to me) was being paid by the word or page, or something. The novel has numerous page-filling 'bus plunge' type episodes that introduce characters that are never developed to anyting relevant to the main story (the opera singer, for example), or that are simply off the theme (pages and pages about learning to drive a 'stick-shift:??'). Not up to the author's past standards.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 28, 2007

    write what you know

    I usually enjoy John Grishams book but this was a complete waste of time. As I read, I kept waiting for something to happen, however The reader will get a great discription of Italian food. Do better next time please.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 7, 2008

    A reviewer

    I used to enjoy reading all of John Grishom's books, but this one was not worth reading. Also, the title is misleading, as my husband bought the book for me (and I like everything Italian), but don't have a clue of football, so it was a disappointment.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 4, 2008

    Booring!

    This book has all of the literary integrity of a comic book. Obviously Grisham has spent very little time in Italy and paid little attention to their language and culture. This book is a waste of time. I find Italy to be such an interesting country I am very tolerant of bad writing but this is just a rip-off!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 26, 2007

    A reviewer

    I loved his early writing, but don't really read his 'best seller' stuff...was hoping this would be in the vein of his 'Skipping Christmas' book--cute, breezy, etc. But, it was so disjointed. I LOVE football & Italy, but didn't think he captured either. The story lines were a mess. Can't believe it was even published--it's that bad.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 3, 2007

    Why, Mr. Grisham?

    A rather dry, pedestrian effort from one capable of much more. And I am both a fan of football and Italy. I have been in the habit at jumping at Grisham's work and have seldom been disappointed. I'll be more careful next time. Why would Mr. Grisham be satisfied with this product?

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 11, 2007

    Simple and rather boring!

    Playing for Pizza is a simple and rather boring read compared to John Grisham's other books. What should have been a light magazine story was drawn out far too long, unless you're interested in detailed information on wine. Its okay, but not worth paying full price.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 10, 2007

    The Best Thing was the Cover

    You can skip this book unless you don't get enough football from September through February. However frustrated football players or play by play men may enjoy this.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 29, 2007

    Disappointing

    Take out the Football parts and it's nothing but a travel guide for Italy.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 5, 2007

    All Fluff

    You can see the ending coming and nothing holds you as you read on. I would guess that Grisham added this book idea when he was researching The Broker. A real Grisham disappointment.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 21, 2007

    A reviewer

    I have read every Grisham Novel, I was very disappointed with this newest book, If it had been any other author I would not have finished it. But I kept reading hoping for something to happen. This was not up to his standard at all.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 20, 2007

    Boring!

    I love to read John Grisham, but despite repeated attempts, I just couldn't get into this book. After about 100 pages, I just gave up. If you don't like football, don't read this. This is the first Grisham book I haven't finished.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 8, 2007

    A reviewer

    I've read all of Grisham's thrillers and only one of his non-thriller books, Painted House. I love all of his other books 'legal thrillers'and I too can not put them down. I wish he would stay with writing suspense novels. I will not buy any of his other books. I am not a football fan and will definitely not buy or take my time reading Playing for Pizza since there are so many other thrillers to read such as Dan Brown's

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 15, 2007

    A reviewer

    Another book about football. This one however takes place in Italy. It appears John Grisham has given us another book that falls in the category with Bleachers, Skipping Christmas, and A Painted House. Go back to writing stories like The Firm and The Client.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 30, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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