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Playing for Pizza

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3.40  ·  Rating Details  ·  34,080 Ratings  ·  3,444 Reviews
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 ...more
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published September 4th 2007 by Doubleday (first published 2007)
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Keith I regard it as a novel of course, but it also is a lovely travelogue. I got a real sense of Italy, its values, its food and its customs in reading it.
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Ted
Jan 02, 2008 Ted rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: Masochists
I started reading John Grisham books when I was the nerdiest sixth grader of all time and thought I'd grow up to be a lawyer. And though I found none of them particularly memorable, I did enjoy his huge slew of legal thrillers back in the day.

Out of pure curiosity I now occasionally pick up one of his more offbeat efforts, like this one about an American quarterback playing semi-pro football in Italy.

This was, quite simply, one of the dumbest and strangest books I've ever read. At times, Grisha
...more
Mark
Feb 21, 2009 Mark rated it really liked it
I liked this story more than a little. I'm no big sports fan, but I enjoyed hearing about the physical aspects of football as described in this book. I'm also a big food nut, and liked how that was the second focus of this book. There was plenty of good humor. So, if you want a happy feel good book that doesn't strain the brain but makes you wince when the character strains something else. This title should be on your gameplan.

Oh, I also listened to this in the car, and when I did dishes rather
...more
Sara
Jul 27, 2008 Sara rated it really liked it
This is another gem from Grisham in which he gives us a glimpse of his tale-spinning away from the courtroom dramas. This time he whisks us away to Italy. The vivid descriptions of ingredients, foods, and full course meals will make you hungry - reminded me of reading Part 1 of Eat, Pray, Love. This book is a real treat if you enjoy international travel and are a football (NFL that is!) fan. But even if you aren't into quarterbacks you can easily skim the sporty paragraphs and still have a lot o ...more
Jules Q
Dec 04, 2013 Jules Q rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: Grisham fans
A die-hard fan will read anything written by a favorite author, and I am that for John Grisham. I don’t always care for the end results, but I will always give his books my all. Last winter I finally got around to reading The Broker in which Grisham none-too-subtly extolled the virtues of the Italian culture. The premise of Playing for Pizza leaves no doubt that his entire point in writing this slim novel is to continue sharing that love affair with his readers. Pizza, above all else, is a lengt ...more
Mistersportsquiz
Mar 08, 2008 Mistersportsquiz rated it really liked it
An entertaining, quick read that will hasten your desire to see Italy. This is a departure from a typical Grisham novel, but it's a refreshing sports story with a romantic twist that will probably be made into a movie someday. Enjoy!
Marion
Jun 24, 2008 Marion rated it really liked it
a departure from Grishams usual, nevertheless i loved this book. the writing seemed so effortless and the characters are enjoyable.
Tom
Feb 03, 2008 Tom rated it really liked it
A good rule to live by is that any book that has detailed descriptions of Italian meals is worth reading. I found Playing for Pizza very enjoyable and no exception to that rule. It tells the story of Rick Dockery, a journeyman third string quarterback in the NFL, who after a disastorous game in which he was the goat, can only find work on a semi-pro football team in Parma, Italy. Somewhat predictably, he rediscovers his love of the game, is welcomed by his gregarious teamates, and discovers the ...more
Charly
Sep 30, 2013 Charly rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone, especially football fans
When Grisham comes away from his cookie cutter legal works he shows an interesting skill as a storyteller. This is a fun and at times funny look at a has been NFL quarterback who chases his football dream to Italy. A fun and at times funny tale well told. Light and quick like much of his non-legal work but far more entertaining than the legal things he writes.
April
Aug 14, 2008 April rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I had never read John Grisham before and had never really thought to give him a try. Naturally, the one time I read him, I read something that's atypical of his usual work. It was my familiarity of his name that prompted me to pick him up at all, and then it was only because I anticipated a long wait at the doctor's office and needed something to read. I don't even read legal thrillers, and I'm really not that into football.

Logical reading choice, isn't it?

But the book had a cute premise: a thir
...more
Jane Stewart
I enjoyed seeing this guy make choices and changes in his life for the better. I didn’t want it to end.

REVIEWER’S OPINION:
Most of my reviews are on romance novels, so this is off genre for me. This is sports fiction plus some human relationships fiction. I liked it. It reminded me of underdog sports teams and/or athletes finding success or doing something positive. I did not understand some of the football jargon, but I enjoyed the story. As a side note, I believe this author is best known for h
...more
06FosterK
Oct 25, 2011 06FosterK rated it it was amazing
playing for pizza...... playing for pizza represents many things .... drive.. passion.. love for the game... and true determation. this book got gave to me by my dad i first i thought what in the heck could this mean. so i started reading the first 10 pages i read the first ten pages and got bored. the next day i kept reading as i got into it i couldnt find my self time to put it down. wich is suprising for me since i am not a fan of reading expecially books i dont chose my self. i think that on ...more
Book Concierge
Jun 26, 2016 Book Concierge rated it it was ok
Book on CD read by Christopher Evan Welch

Rick Dockery doesn’t know anything but football, but he’s obviously not very good at it. In six years, he played with eight teams. Now no one wants him, unless it’s to beat him up for his latest performance, which basically handed the AFC championship to the rival team. But … it seems that Italy is bonkers for American football, and the Parma Panthers are in need of a quarterback. And leaving for Europe will also keep a former cheerleader’s attorneys from
...more
Bobbi
Sep 13, 2012 Bobbi rated it liked it
We listened to this on an audio book from Tye. I agreed with his view that it wasn't great writing, and, for Grisham, not even an intense legal story. It's about a released NFL quarterback who gets picked up to play for a team in Parma, Italy. Tye said Grisham probably went to his editor and offered to write a story there as an excuse to get to live in Italy for a while, and I would buy that supposition. His story was weak but the descriptions of food were mouthwatering. The parmesan cheese and ...more
Eva LeNoir
Jul 14, 2014 Eva LeNoir rated it it was amazing
To be honest, I was not planning on leaving a review. I mean, seriously, this is John Grisham with almost three thousand reviews so who cares about my little grain of sand on an endless beach? But then I read the reviews posted here on Goodreads and decided to voice my own opinion. I started reading John Grisham when I was a sophomore in college and babysitting for my English Lit professors' kids. Needless to say, I devoured those novels like they were going out of style. As much as I love the c ...more
C.J. Prince
Sep 14, 2011 C.J. Prince rated it liked it
I can't believe I'm reading this book. Why am I reading this book? Where did it come from? It's such a guy book. It's in a stack of to-reads at the side of the bed. I need a quick read before reviewing "great Expectations" for the next book group. I pick it up. I read the first page. Why?

Then my obstinate why-not comes pouncing forward. A book about football. What? I went to one Broncos game around 1973. Later would meet a bunch of stoned players back stage at various events. I don't "get it" on
...more
Trudy
Dec 04, 2013 Trudy rated it it was ok
With Playing for Pizza, Grisham once again proves that he should restrict himself to writing legal thrillers. Though not quite as horrible as Skipping Christmas, Playing for Pizza is a novel that probably would not have been published, were it not for its author's famous name.

I am an avid football fan, and reading this novel with yet another week to go before the 2012 football season begins (college and pro), I was able to tolerate the blow-by-blow descriptions of the football games and practice
...more
Janell
Oct 07, 2007 Janell rated it liked it
Short review: a nice travelogue/play-by-play in the life of a washed up football player discovering the romance and life changing elixir that is Italy. Long review: I’ve read, or attempted to read, many John Grisham novels since The Firm, including A Time to Kill, which I found more riveting than The Firm, if not as quickly read. But Playing for Pizza was reminiscent of The Firm in that, like an old friend, I’d found the familiar easy prose that made me want to read The Firm in the first place. ...more
Seamus
Nov 05, 2008 Seamus rated it liked it
I liked the book, it is very funny and if you love football you will like this book. Rick Dockery is a football player who's career is pretty much over. He's a member of the Denver Broncos, and has been on practically every NFL team. His last mistake was a third concussion during the Superbowl. His manager Arnie is trying to gey him a job on another NFL team, people are sending him death threats and hate him. Arnie finds a team in Parma, Italy that is desperate to have any Pro-Football Player no ...more
Jarod
Mar 03, 2009 Jarod rated it really liked it
During class I have been able to read more than I usual. Because of this I was able to read multiple books. One of the books that I enjoyed quite a bit was Playing For Pizza by John Grisham. I didn’t understand the title when I first picked up the book, but after reading the book the title makes sense now. We have people that play football because they love the game, but they complain when someone is making more money then they are. The men over in Italy love the game so much that all they play ...more
Jim Thornton
This must rate as one of the most awful books I have ever read. Why didn't I give up after 30 pages? Because I was trapped on a nine hour flight with nothing else to read. It's almost hard to decide where to start insulting this piece of mind-cabbage.



First, I've read most of Grisham's books, and have generally enjoyed them, so this isn't a rant against an author I dislike, but against this particular book. Second, the whole setting is farcical. Americans may enjoy this as they understand America
...more
Bybees
Jun 12, 2008 Bybees rated it liked it
Katie: Ryan read this one first and informed me it was more of a guy book because it was all about football. I read it anyway and was thoroughly surprised by how much I enjoyed it, not being much of a football fan. I would probably up the rating to 3 1/2 or 4 stars. I loved the characters, though not necessarily the protagonist, which was my main criticism of the book. I just couldn't get over that he was a man slut and kind of a sleaze ball so I didn't really care to rally behind him and was ki ...more
Jay
Nov 28, 2014 Jay rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
This is the third Grisham book I've read, none of them his mainstay legal thrillers. And I liked it. This is an entertaining book about an American football team in Italy and the washed out NFL quarterback who comes to lead them and grows to appreciate them. The plot had enough fun zig-zags to keep it interesting throughout, with plenty to read about the physical act of playing football, Italian meals, the world of football agents, and architecture tours. There's a bit of romance and more. It fe ...more
Heather
Jul 14, 2015 Heather rated it it was ok
I've read a handful of John Grisham novels over the years, with A Time to Kill being my favorite. While I feel that Playing for Pizza was a nice foray into a different genre, it wasn't Grisham's best. It's about a released NFL quarterback who gets picked up to play for a team in Parma, Italy. The story was fine, but the descriptions of food made me hungry, even mouthwatering. Any time a writer is talking about parmesan cheese, parma ham, pizzas, pastas, wines, olives, and even the Italian archit ...more
Tal Levy
Sep 07, 2014 Tal Levy rated it liked it
the novel Playing For Pizza is about a professional football player who played for a very good team , however in a very important game , he accidentally threw the ball to the next team, during this embarrassing moment he got injured very badly. He does not remember wat happened but it seems that every one else does . and no one wonts to hire him , therefor he decides that he shoulld go to parma , italy , and help an amateur but motivated team named the "panthers" and be thar quoterback . With ti ...more
Gabe
Now, I have to admit, I had to give up on this book, I couldn't finish it, I just abandoned, plain and simple.

To me, with so many books to chose from, it's like watching TV and having multiple channels available to browse, so like with my TV, I switch to a channel if I know a movie is or will be on, or if it just happens to randomly land on a channel with a movie barely starting or already on, then since I like movies too, I sit and watch for a while. If the movie is my type, if I like the style
...more
Sarah Shwani
Nov 19, 2015 Sarah Shwani rated it liked it
Playing For Pizza is a novel written by John Grisham. I enjoyed this book a lot. I thought it was well written and thought through. It's not as exciting and that interesting but it's a pretty good book. I loved the way the author described the characters. But what I really disliked is that there were so many characters and so much of them came and went that I had a hard time keeping track of who was who, but over all it was a good book.

“They’re calling me to warn me not to call them. I’m afraid
...more
Tinea
Dec 12, 2015 Tinea rated it it was ok
Shelves: brain-candy
This is Eat, Pray, Love: For Men(TM). I legitimately respect myself less for how much I enjoyed this book. OK, self, the streak of mindless drivel books has to end here.
Robert
Feb 01, 2016 Robert rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
Pretty good book. Different from John's usual lawyer type books. There is a lot of football talk in the book, so non-sports type people may like it less. I would be interested to go watch an IFL game in Italy. It got me thinking about the life of a prior NFL player or college football player that didn't get into the NFL. What do they all do? Some are ready to move on from their football life, but others, I am sure, are like Rick and are not ready to move on. One thing I didn't like about this bo ...more
Alec
Dec 01, 2014 Alec rated it did not like it
Playing for pizza by John Grisham was the ook that I've always wanted to read. It's got motivation and inspiration and will help you get through the hard times. Rick didn't have it easy. He got cut from a NFL team (not the first time) and was dealing with a serious head injury. But he didn't give up and I shoukdnt either. The italian football team he was assigned to welcomed him and they played their hearts out. If you read this book, you will enjoy it, if you are interested in a comeback story ...more
Claiborne
Apr 08, 2016 Claiborne rated it liked it
This book reads exactly like a 1980s sports movie (and I happen to have a soft spot for sports movies). It's light, a little cheesy, and has a fun mix of inspirational team-bonding montages, exciting game action, fish-out-water discovers himself moments, and boy-meets-girl scenes. The "romance" leans misogynistic and the characters are a little trite, but the detailed descriptions of Northern Italy and its food and architecture are robust. I'm pretty sure Grisham wrote this book as an excuse to ...more
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Play Book Tag: Playing for Pizza / John Grisham - 2** 2 11 Jun 09, 2016 06:36PM  
My independent reading: Review of Playing for Pizza by John Grisham 2 8 Jan 20, 2016 10:04PM  
Mansfield Public ...: The"Playing for Pizza" review by Suzanne Dowling 1 4 Jul 15, 2014 11:19PM  
World Book Night 2013 3 23 Jun 19, 2013 04:09PM  
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"Long before his name became synonymous with the modern legal thriller, he was working 60-70 hours a week at a small Southaven, Mississippi law practice, squeezing in time before going to the office and during courtroom recesses to work on his hobby—writing his first novel.

Born on February 8, 1955 in Jonesboro, Arkansas, to a construction worker and a homemaker, John Grisham as a child dreamed of
...more
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