Down Farm Road 308, an hour's drive south of Dallas, amidst sprawling fields of cotton lies a small community--Penelope, Texas (population 211). Here, where the only thriving businesses are the granary and the post office, unless you count the soft-drink machine in front of the fire station, two-time Edgar Award-winning writer Carlton Stowers discovered a special town that came together, not only to support their six-man highschool football team--the Penelope Wolverines--through thick and a lot of thin, but also, and more importantly, each other. Where Dreams Die Hard is a warm and revealing portrait of the American heartland--and of one small town's love affair with the team that unites it. "Through his unforgettable depiction of innocence, goodness, loyalty, and friendship...Carlton Stowers gives us a moving portrait of a community that, in the words of one of the Penelope faithful, is like 'stepping into a Norman Rockwell painting.'" (Billie Letts, author of Where the Heart Is) "High school football in Texas is both sport and religion, and Stowers brilliantly brings this to light in Where Dreams Die Hard." (Jim Dent, author of The Junction Boys)
|Publisher:||Da Capo Press|
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.25(h) x 0.62(d)|
|Lexile:||1260L (what's this?)|
About the Author
Carlton Stowers has twice won the Edgar Award for the year's Best Fact Crime Book, for Careless Whispers and To the Last Breath. He has written for Sports Illustrated, People, and TV Guide, among other publications. He lives in Texas.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I observed the cover of this book in a local book store. Instantly, I felt an interest in the book. On a cold, holiday, winter night, I picked up the book and began reading. This work is a true 'page turner'. Not only is this about a small high school football team, the coaches and schoolmates, but it is also about small town life and values. I truly enjoyed living through the Penelope High School football season and feeling the players ups and downs to success. As a fanatic of sports books, I would rate this book as one of the best I have ever read. It was an enjoyment to read this extremely engrossing book.
As the August breezes begin to pick up, the days start to become shorter and thoughts return to fall, the end of the summer season brings about the start of another season, the high school football season. Thousands of players will have participated in two-a-day practices throughout the dog days of August, all in the hopes of winning games, setting records and pursuing championships. The only difference between most of the squads competing in the United States and the 112 public high school teams competing throughout Texas, is that they do it a little differently. For those smaller Lone Star Schools, whose student enrollment falls below 100, they play under their own Friday Night lights in the glorious game of six-man football. Author Carlton Stowers became tired of his own newspaper¿s front pages, dedicated to the misdoings of others, bombings and mayhem he had seen from a news reporter¿s eyes. He made the decision to turn his reporter pen and pad towards a quieter town, in a quieter portion of Texas and follow the world of six-man football for a season. His travels took him to the small town of Penelope and it¿s populous of 211 residents and the Wolverines six-man football team. The railroad had left Penelope in 1960 and so went with it the cotton commerce that brought people to it. In 1963 the high school made the decision to abandon its football program. In 1999 a student, Marvin Hill, prodded by his classmates asked the superintendent requesting that football be re-instated in the Wolverines fall season. The game of six-man football was established in the late 1930¿s as a sport for the small rural schools. It involves three lineman, three backs and a quarterback. Traditionally it is played on an 80-yard field, 15-yards are needed for a first down, 10-minute quarters are played and all players are eligible to receive a pass. Also included would be a 45-point mercy rule after the first half was complete. With the help of the superintendent and an open board of education, donations flowed in to field a team that first season. As the interest continued year after year, a playing field, all two-acres of it, was purchased, grass planted and goalposts were acquired when a neighboring school moved up in class, they too were sent to Penelope. It would be Hill who made history, scoring the first-ever touchdown for the Wolverines that first season. Fast forward to 2004 when Penelope is led by coach Corey McAdams, the former state championship quarterback and college star at Hardin-Simmons University. It would be his job to bring the Wolverines back on a winning track, turning the tide on the squad¿s current 1 win, 31 loss record. Stowers takes the reader onto the practice field, into the hallways of Penelope High and into the homes of the players, their families and their lives. It is a different type of life in the small towns in Texas, something that many suburban readers may have a hard time comprehending. When the entire town turns out for a football contest, they may not fill most local high school auditoriums, the coaches drive the bus to away games, that is if his players show up on time after they finish building a sheep fence. ¿Where Dreams Die Hard¿ is not as hard hitting as the best selling ¿Friday Night Lights¿, but Stowers stills delves into issues that would make any towns population uneasy. It is the picture that Stowers paints of the small towns in Texas, the wins and the losses by the Penelope High Wolverines squad that make the book so enjoyable. The length of ¿Where Dreams Die Hard,¿ is also agreeable to the reader with its 201 pages, fitting for a sport which boasts just 12 players on the gridiron compared to the traditional 22. Stower¿s work has intrigue, history, heartwarming stories about the players, their families as well as the author¿s own relationship with his dying father. While they may host smaller lineups, play in front of smaller crowds, the characters in ¿Where Dreams Die Hard¿ are fo