Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Playing for Pizza” as Want to Read:
Playing for Pizza
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Playing for Pizza

3.41  ·  Rating Details ·  36,422 Ratings  ·  3,603 Reviews
Rick Dockery was a quarterback for one of America's most famous football teams when he gave arguably the worst performance in his league's history. Overnight Rick became a laughing stock and unemployable in his own country.

But somehow Rick's agent finds him a job. He is guaranteed a starting position and a salary. The only problem is that the team that wants him is in Parm
Paperback, 325 pages
Published June 5th 2008 by Arrow (first published 2007)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Playing for Pizza, please sign up.

Popular Answered Questions

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.
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Jan 02, 2008 Ted rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 21, 2009 Mark rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 27, 2008 Sara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 24, 2008 Jules Q rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 13, 2008 Mistersportsquiz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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!
Jun 12, 2008 Marion rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
a departure from Grishams usual, nevertheless i loved this book. the writing seemed so effortless and the characters are enjoyable.
Nov 09, 2016 Efka rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: romanai, romance, sports
"Playing for pizza" is quite a strange book. Despite being written by Grisham, one of my favorite writers, it is so unlike his typical books, that I could have guessed it was written by, I dunno, Jodi Picoult or someone else, had I not known who actually wrote it.

Now this book's also strange because it has no plot. Basically it's sort of a simplified diary of Rick's life in Italy, or, more like an account of what did he eat, where did he eat, what did he drink, where did he drink, what cafe, ba
Feb 02, 2008 Tom rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 26, 2009 Charly rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Aug 07, 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
Jane Stewart
I enjoyed seeing this guy make choices and changes in his life for the better. I didn’t want it to end.

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
Oct 25, 2011 06FosterK rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Not a clean read. I'm picky about that sort of thing.
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
Book Concierge
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
Aug 25, 2012 Trudy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 11, 2012 Bobbi rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Marianne Franks
Jan 19, 2017 Marianne Franks rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book has no point. It is a hallmark/lifetime after school special minus the I can't look away factor.
C.J. Prince
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
Eva LeNoir
Jun 29, 2013 Eva LeNoir rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 04, 2007 Janell rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Dec 12, 2015 Tinea rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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.
Da circa 7 anni sono immersa nel mondo del football americano italiano per seguire il mio ragazzo nello sport che ama e che è la sua passione.
Grisham ha scoperto, girando l'Italia, che il football, che per gli americani è l'equivalente del nostro calcio, viene praticato anche da noi e ha deciso di dedicare un libro alla squadra di Parma, i Panthers.
Mi sono ritrovata immersa nel mondo che vivo tutti gli anni e che vedo vivere alla persona che amo: le trasferte infinite in giro per l'Italia, i sac
Mar 03, 2009 Jarod rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 22, 2007 Anne rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I am a shameless fan of John Grisham. I find his legal thrillers comforting, even though they follow the same formula everytime. But, his non-legal books have never quite held the same appeal for me (Bleachers and The Painted House, for example). So, I was a little hesitant to pick this one up - but he's always a fast read, so I figured I'd give it a shot. Playing for Pizza is the story of a third-string NFL quarterback. He's spent his career bouncing from team to team, until he absolutely blows ...more
Mar 06, 2008 Bybees rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Nov 25, 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
Beth Gibson
Jan 13, 2017 Beth Gibson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don't think John Grisham wrote a bad book. Though this had the expected anti-climactic ending, it was an enjoyable departure from his legal thrillers. This is the story of Rick Dockery, an ex-NFL quarterback who blows it big time in a critical play off game. After the season, no one wants to touch him. No one except an old friend now coaching a minor league Italian football league. So Rick finds himself quarterbacking the Parma Panthers. Though few speak English, their drive, work ethic, and l ...more
Tiffany Malcom
Jan 15, 2013 Tiffany Malcom rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I'll save you the trouble of reading it by giving you the CliffNotes version:
Football play-by-play
Description of Italian food
Football play-by-play
Description of Italian food
Football play-by-play
Description of Italian opera
Football play-by-play
Football play-by-play
Football play-by-play
Football play-by-play
I'm thinking Grisham wanted an Italian vacay and also wanted to write it off on his taxes as a work expense. It was not enjoyable.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Alyssa Garin 2 4 May 29, 2017 06:53AM  
Alyssa Garin 1 1 Apr 06, 2017 09:29AM  
Play Book Tag: Playing for Pizza / John Grisham - 2** 2 13 Jun 09, 2016 10:36AM  
My independent reading: Review of Playing for Pizza by John Grisham 2 13 Jan 20, 2016 02:04PM  
  • I'd Rather We Got Casinos: And Other Black Thoughts
  • Dave Barry's Guide to Life (Contains: "Dave Barry's Guide to Marriage and/or Sex" / "Babies and Other Hazards of Sex" / "Stay Fit and Healthy Until You're Dead" / "Claw Your Way to the Top")
  • Miracle on the 17th Green
  • Bang the Drum Slowly
  • Every Day in Tuscany: Seasons of an Italian Life
  • What You Wish For
  • The Long Snapper: A Second Chance, a Super Bowl, a Lesson for Life
  • Common Nonsense
  • Saving Faith
  • Bump and Run
  • Moon River and Me: A Memoir
  • Branch Rickey
  • Frog, Where Are You?
  • April Adventure (Calendar Mysteries, #4)
  • How to Beat Up Anybody: An Instructional and Inspirational Karate Book by the World Champion
  • Faithful: Two Diehard Boston Red Sox Fans Chronicle the Historic 2004 Season
  • Very New Orleans: A Celebration of History, Culture, and Cajun Country Charm
  • Paper Money
"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 about John Grisham...

Share This Book

“in Italian. For the first time in his new home, Rick admitted to himself that learning a few words was not a bad idea. In fact, it was a great idea if he had any hope of scoring points with the girls.” 0 likes
“At 1:00 a.m., they were in the Welsh pub again, having drinks and talking opera and football.” 0 likes
More quotes…