Out of the Pocket

( 18 )

Overview

The 2009 Lambda Literary Award-winning novel is finally available in paperback! This new second edition includes two brand new bonus chapters, a foreword by former NFL punter Chris Kluwe, and an afterword by outsports.com co-founder Jim Buzinski.

Star quarterback Bobby Framingham, one of the most talented high school football players in California, knows he's different from his teammates. They're like brothers, but they don't know one essential thing: Bobby is gay. Can he still ...

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Overview

The 2009 Lambda Literary Award-winning novel is finally available in paperback! This new second edition includes two brand new bonus chapters, a foreword by former NFL punter Chris Kluwe, and an afterword by outsports.com co-founder Jim Buzinski.

Star quarterback Bobby Framingham, one of the most talented high school football players in California, knows he's different from his teammates. They're like brothers, but they don't know one essential thing: Bobby is gay. Can he still be one of the guys and be honest about who he is? When he's outed against his will by a student reporter, Bobby must find a way to earn back his teammates' trust and accept that his path to success might be more public, and more difficult, than he'd hoped. An affecting novel about identity that also delivers great sportswriting.

"A thought-provoking, funny, and ultimately uplifting story of self-actualization that masterfully defies stereotypes about both coming out and team sports."
-School Library Journal

"A thoughtful, powerful novel."
-Booklist

"It's tough enough completing your pass as the linebackers blitz, but when your private life is also crashing in, the game is about survival. A hard-hitting first novel about quarterbacking your life."
- Robert Lipsyte, author of Raiders Night

"How I rooted for Bobby, and all his imperfect, complicated, oh-so-human friends."
- Catherine Gilbert Murdock, author of Dairy Queen and The Off Season

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Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal

Gr 9 Up

Senior quarterback Bobby Framingham is gay and tired of keeping it a secret. He confides in a close friend who promises not to tell, and then does. Suddenly Bobby is in the spotlight, and raw emotions come into play. His best girl friend is hurt and disgusted. His coach insists that he's not really gay. His teammates' reactions range from supportive to freaked out to furious. In the meantime, his father undergoes treatment for cancer, and the football team comes together to prepare for a championship game. The sports-action sequences are well drawn and engaging, and the bond among teammates is strong. Character interactions are believable and often surprising, and Bobby is a likable narrator. A few repetitive scenes are a small price to pay for a thought-provoking, funny, and ultimately uplifting story of self-actualization that masterfully defies stereotypes about both coming out and team sports.-Megan Honig, New York Public Library

Kirkus Reviews
In this unusual hybrid that juxtaposes hard-hitting, play-by-play football action with scenes of psychological soul-searching, a gay high-school football player is publicly shoved out of the closet and then has to cope with the aftermath. Bobby Framingham, a talented quarterback who loves football and hopes to play both in college and then professionally, has come to the understanding that he's gay, a realization he knows will have consequences both personally and in his favorite arena-the hyper-masculine world of team sports. Bobby, whom Konigsberg depicts as a regular guy who just happens to be attracted to other guys, suddenly has to cope with the varied reactions of his teammates, friends and family. Although he has no desire to be the public face of gayness in high-school sports, once in the limelight, Bobby feels that he can't retreat. The story concludes realistically, leaving the final consequences of his actions unclear. What is clear however, and what readers should take away, is that despite the price, there are great rewards to being who you are. (Fiction. 14 & up)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780615987187
  • Publisher: StraBeCa Books
  • Publication date: 4/30/2014
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 294
  • Sales rank: 266,257
  • Age range: 14 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.62 (d)

Meet the Author

Bill Konigsberg is the award-winning author of OUT OF THE POCKET (Lambda Literary Award, 2009) and OPENLY STRAIGHT (Sid Fleischman Award for Humor, 2014). Before turning his attention to fiction, he was an award-winning sports writer for ESPN.com and The Associated Press. He lives in Chandler, Arizona, with his husband, Chuck Cahoy.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 18 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(13)

4 Star

(3)

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(2)

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 19 of 18 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 27, 2009

    Made for TV Melodrama

    This is a well done first draft for an after school special. As a book, it has some real flaws:

    Mr. Konisberg must not be father: while Konigberg's gets points for having the father react positively to the news his son, Bobby, is gay, it's highly unlikely that either parent would welcome another, older gay male (Bryan) to their home without voicing SOME concern, at least to Bobby, about safe sex (the similarly sports-themed SECRET EDGE has a good example of this).

    I'm also uncomfortable with how stalkerish Bryan comes across. On the one hand, the author wanted a positive, supportive older gay role model, but didn't want too much of an age difference. However, it's unlikely that the one freshman in college who could rate an actual writing/reporting (versus get me coffee and donuts) internship at a major paper like the OC Register would both happen to be a cousin of the Bobby's team mate, Dennis, AND be a gay male the main character happens to find attractive (there must be no family resemblance with the cousin as the author repeatedly states the Bobby's lack of attraction and even wonderment at Dennis' appeal to his fellow female students).

    The author makes the frequent rookie mistake of trying to cover too much ground with too many elements. The supportive (and essentially non-sexual romantic) older gay role model should have been the school counselor or the uncle of the Rahim character. The father's illness and cancer treatment also took up space that could have been used to take the character to the end of the school year, where the readers could have learned that the Bobby character got recruited by a good Division III program like Occidental or a Division II school like UC San Diego, as an openly gay college football player, either totally plausible.

    Another unlikely and unrealistic plot point is the entire "outing" by the student reporter. In the text, the editor states the reporter "vouched" for his own story. No decent editor, even in high school, would allow a reporter to vouch for what he would know to be such a significant and personal detail as student (and particularly high school football quarterback) homosexuality). California has a written right to privacy law. Even if students don't get all of these rights, that's typically when the administration wants to do something like search their lockers in the interest of the 'greater good' - public safety. In this case, Bobby's privacy would be a significant hurdle for the editor and/or faculty adviser (who would have clued in the principal) to just ignore, tape or no tape. Additionally, if the editor (or advisor) heard the total tape -- and they would and should -- they would hear Bobby state, quite clearly, "maybe we should turn that off." A good reporter would also have prefaced the tape, 'do you mind if I tape this.' The first interview, at the cafeteria was not equally taped, so immediately that creates a problem -- unless the author needs to (in time honored TV fashion) create and manufacture melodrama as an easy plot point to move his story along.

    Likewise, even if the oldest friend Bobby has is not really close why would he tell other team members, particularly the Dennis character that neither this friend nor Bobby is close to -- except that the author needs the plot point.

    The author's sports background adds realism to the locker room and main character's narration. However, these details detract from the overall boo

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 8, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Excellent realistic story of a gay high school athlete's dilema

    Bobby Framingham is a senior quarterback on his suburban California football team, and is grappling with a problem more daunting than any defensive line. While he has known he is gay for some time, he has never acted on his feelings, and it is only recently that his head-in-the-sand approach has caused problems in relating to his teammates, friends and family. He decides to confide in a few chosen, close friends, but one of them - a reporter for the school paper - decides to "out" him, taking away his choice as to whether or not to try to navigate the unchartered waters as an openly gay athlete hoping for a college (and hopefully pro) career. His story gets national attention, at a time when he has other issues to deal with as well.<BR/><BR/>"Coming out" in the world of sports is an experience familiar to former Associated Press sportswriter Bill Konigsberg, who won a GLAAD Media Award in 2002 for his own coming-out while a regular writer for ESPN.Com. In this, his first novel, Konigsberg does a masterful job of structuring his story with positive but refreshingly realistic characters and situations, not the usual rose-colored version we often get in coming-out novels geared toward teens and young adults. Informative, entertaining, witty, and probably a real eye-opener for readers who never considered that a given percentage of today's top athletes are likely gay or lesbian. Consider this one right between the goal posts, five blazing stars out of five!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 13, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Out of the Pocket is Masterfully Written

    More times than I can count I've praised authors who have produced "well-written" books. In this particular case, I do not think such a description would do justice to such a beautifully articulated story. The writer's voice of this author is purely melodic, and the flow of the prose is so natural and seamless that it literally carries the reader along until all of a sudden they've sadly reached the last page.

    Out of the Pocket is without question a coming-out and coming-of-age story, but I'm reluctant to tag it with these labels simply because I fear that to do so would trivialize the magnificent effort that went into this amazing story. It is certainly an atypical coming-out drama for numerous reasons. Foremost among these reasons is the fact that the protagonist is not some angst-ridden adolescent who secretly pines for another guy. Instead we are introduced to a very strong and confident Bobby Framingham, high school football quarterback for the Durango Bulldogs. From almost the beginning of the story, Bobby expresses that he is aware of his homosexual orientation, and he decides early on that he must confide his secret to a trusted friend. It becomes a case of "and he told two friends...and so on...and so on."

    Eventually a fellow classmate and reporter for the school newspaper convinces Bobby that he can be trusted. Bobby explains to the classmate (Finch Gozman) that he is certain that he's gay, but he is not yet ready to come out publicly. Gozman betrays Bobby and runs the story in the school newspaper. It almost immediately is picked up by the local media, then the Associated Press, and then the national television and print media. Suddenly Bobby is the poster boy for gay teen athletes--much to his chagrin.

    Out of the Pocket is the story about how a gay teenager who doesn't fit any of the stereotypes is able to cope with the pressure of coming out publicly. It is a story about team comraderie and family loyalty. It is a story about friendship and even gay romance. It is about finding the courage within ourselves which allows us to step outside of our comfort zone in order to do what we know is right.

    My only criticism of the book was that the author often used so much sports' jargon that I felt as if I was reading in a foreign language. Frankly the description of plays and maneuvers on the football field was a litrary device that sailed right over my head. Sadly I missed the meaning of some of the descriptions and even the metaphors simply because I did not understand. I would note that the author should be aware of the target audience to whom he is writing. If he expected sports aficianodos to be his reader base, he was right on target. If he was writing to the typical gay-romance reader, I think he went a bit overboard with the sports lingo. I would add, however, that it was believable in the sense that a first-person singular narration by a teen football quarterback probably would include a lot of sports talk.

    In spite of that one minor criticism, I must admit that this deeply moving and compelling story has left me spellbound. I was literally swept off my feet by Bobby Framingham and impressed beyond description by the author's masterful prose.

    Out of the Pocket is an inspiring, uplifting, must-read for all who appreciate gay-themed literature. I also highly recommend it to all who value quality prose in any genre. Great job, Bill Konigsberg, and thank you for your incredible story

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 30, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by coollibrarianchick for TeensReadToo.com

    In the locker room, the word fag is tossed around jokingly between teammates. What they do not realize is that among them is someone struggling to accept that he is different, that he is gay. <BR/><BR/>It is one thing being gay - it is totally another thing playing a testosterone-driven sport, being the star quarterback, and being gay. <BR/><BR/>Bobby Framingham, star quarterback, who dreams of playing for Stanford, is an all around good guy; handsome, popular and gay. No one knows yet and he is not ready to tell anyone, either. Bobby realizes that there are a lot of issues and angles that need to be worked out before coming out. There is a matter of family, friends, teammates, and, of course, Carrie, the girl who is his best friend and who wants more than he can give. <BR/><BR/>There is one problem, an over-zealous student reporter that would love to do a story on him coming out - and who outs him sooner than what Bobby wishes. As if being a teenager isn't hard enough, how is an outed star athlete going to handle such public exposure? <BR/><BR/>As to date, while there are many famous gay people in the arts, there are no openly gay people playing football, baseball, or basketball. Two people admitted to be being gay but it was long after their retirement. So many reasons to keep quiet - fear of being cut, hostile locker rooms, loss of fans. However, the world is changing and our sports culture needs to change, too. <BR/><BR/>Hopefully, we will see more young gay athletes challenge homophobic views held by others on who should be involved in sports. One line in the book that stands out is "being homophobic is just as bad as being racist." <BR/><BR/>OUT OF THE POCKET is a good coming-of-age story with an honest and realistic portrayal of all of the character's reactions. I think that it would make a good addition to GLBTQ collections in both public and school libraries, as it is truly a great example of finding yourself no matter what your sexual orientation/experiences may be. <BR/><BR/>You will find yourself rooting for Bobby just as I did.

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