28 Oct 2020


Book Review / Playing for Pizza by John Grisham

Rick Dockery was the third-string quarterback for the Cleveland Browns. In the AFC Championship game against Denver, to the surprise and dismay of virtually everyone, Rick actually got into the game. With a 17-point lead and just minutes to go, Rick provided what was arguably the worst single performance in the history of the NFL. Overnight, he became a national laughingstock and, of course, was immediately cut by the Browns and shunned by all other teams.

But all Rick knows is football, and he insists that his agent, Arnie, find a team that needs him. Against enormous odds Arnie finally locates just such a team and informs Rick that, miraculously, he can in fact now be a starting quarterback–for the mighty Panthers of Parma, Italy.

Yes, Italians do play American football, to one degree or another, and the Parma Panthers desperately want a former NFL player–any former NFL player–at their helm. So Rick reluctantly agrees to play for the Panthers–at least until a better offer comes along–and heads off to Italy. He knows nothing about Parma, has never been to Europe, and doesn’t speak or understand a word of Italian. To say that Italy holds a few surprises for Rick Dockery would be something of an understatement.

Published:     4th September 2007
Publisher:  Doubleday
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand-Alone
Source:  Owned



I have to admit that I am not a football and know nothing about the game so I was a little cautious going into this novel hoping that it was not solely about the game.  Luckily, it wasn't and I really enjoyed the story.

We follow Rick as he is injured playing for the NFL.  He is not playing well.  He wants to stay playing football so takes an opportunity to go and play in Italy as that is his only choice if he wants to continue to play.   Even though he is not happy with the situation, he does anyway and soon discovers his passion for the sport again and quite possibly his passion for life again.

I really enjoyed this story and you really don't have to know a lot about football to understand most of the story.  For me, the best part was following Rick on his journey of being down on his luck to finding himself again.