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Fever Pitch

3.68 of 5 stars 3.68  ·  rating details  ·  20,246 ratings  ·  917 reviews
In America, it is soccer. But in Great Britain, it is the real football. No pads, no prayers, no prisoners. And that's before the players even take the field.

Nick Hornby has been a football fan since the moment he was conceived. Call it predestiny. Or call it preschool. Fever Pitch is his tribute to a lifelong obsession. Part autobiography, part comedy, part incisive analy
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Paperback, 272 pages
Published March 1st 1998 by Riverhead Trade (first published 1992)
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Moneyball by Michael LewisFriday Night Lights by H.G. BissingerSeabiscuit by Laura HillenbrandThe Blind Side by Michael LewisFever Pitch by Nick Hornby
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5th out of 524 books — 504 voters
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1st out of 175 books — 153 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Bucko

This is a complicated book. On the one hand it is a narrow-scoped, highly personal look at the shortcomings of one man and because of his obsession with a British football (soccer) team, one which I have a hard time thinking anyone but an Arsenal fan would enjoy. On the other hand, it just might be the greatest sports book ever written, one that might lead those who don't "get" sports to understand how and why certain people they love can care so much about a bunch of grown men running around ch
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Ed
Mar 29, 2009 Ed rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: fiction
First Hornby I've read--managed to avoid the brief college craze after High Fidelity came out...but now wish I hadn't.

My roommate lent me this book after it came up randomly in a conversation...as I approach 30 and sports fandom becomes more ridiculous proportional to my age, I find myself having to defend my enthusiasm for baseball more and more. Being in Europe probably has something to do with this too. In fact, discussing my love of baseball generally turns into an argument for/against the l
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Moira
I love this book more than I can express. I read it for the first time after a particularly painful baseball season (Mariners expelled from the playoffs by demonic Yankees) and I've probably read it every year since. I'm actually reading it again right now because I am painfully baseball deprived until spring training.

Now I realize that it is not actually about baseball specifically- and please, never speak to me about the Americanized movie starring Jimmy Fallon because I will cry and shriek-
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Tfitoby
The football season ended with a huge sense of relief but almost instantly I was in pain at the thought of June and July, those two months of the year when I have to fill my mind with thoughts other than 'when are Arsenal playing next? What time of the night do I set my alarm for?' The two months without football are the worst of the year. Not least because now that I am living in Australia, as opposed to England, it's also winter. It felt like the perfect time to finally revisit one of the book ...more
Abhishek
I have been an Arsenal supporter for the past 12 years. I have seen the ups and downs of the football team, I have shared their glory, I have shared their pain. They have given me days where I would not have wished to be anywhere else, and they have given me days where I wondered why I got hooked onto them. It has been a fan's journey, and it is going to continue to be, as I find myself in one of my biggest love-hate relationships. Nick Hornby has been on this path since 1969. While this book wa ...more
Megan
Jan 10, 2011 Megan rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Soccer fans
I just finished reading this book for the second time. The first time I read it, I probably would have given it five stars; something about the glimpse into Hornby's world enthralled me, but then I wasn't quite as familiar with the lifestyle of being a Premiership fan as I am now.

Set up as a series of essays, Fever Pitch depicts the life of a man who is much, much more than a casual Arsenal fan, while much less than a "hooligan." It caters to everyone who finds themselves in between those two d
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Cecilia
It was almost too perfect that I chose to read Nick Hornby’s wonderful and engrossing football fan memoir Fever Pitch during World Cup month. Of course, it’s more than a football book, but I was really drawn to his frank admission of the very depths of his football obesession at the same time that the World Cup was reminding me how much fun and how intense it is to watch real top flight soccer.

The writing is great. I can’t say much more about that. His good rep is well-deserved and I feel that
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P.Sannie
Sep 22, 2009 P.Sannie rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: soccer fans, people who know soccer but are obsessed with something else
Fever Pitch is laugh out loud funny. I found myself laughing aloud in my living room, on the train, waiting for public transportation. It is a story not only about soccer (football, sorry), but about fandom, passion, and the relationships that go with it.

Nick Hornby details his relationship to the English football team Arsenal F.C. and yes, it's helpful if you know a little about the sport, otherwise you'd be a bit lost. However, his obsession with the team and sport is applicable to other obse
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Siddharth
In a book filled with resonating passages about football, fandom and the Arsenal, this one stands out:

"One thing I know for sure about being a fan is this: it is not a vicarious pleasure, despite all appearances to the contrary, and those who say that they would rather do than watch are missing the point. Football is a context where watching becomes doing — not in the aerobic sense, because watching a game, smoking your head off while doing so, drinking after it has finished and eating chips on
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Michael Hattem
Many in England consider this book responsible for the modern mainstream acceptance of the game in England which saw the crowds change from working-class to middle and upper class. I am a long-time American Arsenal supporter and read the book a couple of years after falling hopelessly in love with the club. Needless to say, the book spoke to me in a very real way. I know many American Arsenal supporters who came to the club through this book. But, anyway, on to the book itself...

I'm not much for
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Anne
I am a huge Nick Hornby fan. I love his sense of humor and get a warm cozy feeling whenever I read his writing. So, I decided to pick up this book, which is a bit of a memoir focused on Hornby's obsession with football (or soccer, depending on the country). This was like a sports version of The Orchid Thief. I am not a fan of soccer, don't know the players or the teams. Yet, I enjoyed this book. Sometimes he gets a little heavy on the game details, but he tells enough stories about his childhood ...more
Stephan van der Linde
Even though this book is about a football-club I like (Arsenal), Hornby describes the years 1968 till 1991. In those years Arsenal had not the name and fame it has now.

Hornby, a big "Gunners"-fan visited as child his first Arsenal-game and never skipped a game since.

Hornby describes all the highlights en disappointments through the years.
While reading you start to understand his love for Arsenal.

I think the first 100 pages are kind of boring and the second part is better, but this book is serio
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Anbu
Fever pitch was an autobiographical account of an obsessive Arsenal fan whose happiness, sadness and everything depend on Arsenal’s success or failure.

Most of us, Indian football fans, started watching English football from around 1996. That is the time when ESPN start telecasting one or two matches per weekend. That too most of them were United and Liverpool games. This is why India has lot of fans from these two clubs.

For the guys like me, who started around 2003/04 season, Arsenal was all. T
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Nicole
This book reminded me of my first football match in the mid-nineties when I was around 9 or 10. Retrospectively, this match was the beginning of increasing violence between the two opposing sides, but I was only mesmerized by the fact that I was actually being present and soaked up the atmosphere. I could understand why Hornby decided to include certain matches who weren't memorable for their results but meant something to him at that time, because I felt the same way back then.
I'm still interes
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Gaurav Vartak
Obsession can be a tricky thing. It can compel us to achieve great heights or push us into the darkest depths of depression. Nick Hornby’s obsession is Football (NOT Soccer); Arsenal Football Club to be precise. And the obsession is so deeply ingrained that during a phase in his life, he believed that the only way for him to overcome a career and life ending depression is if Arsenal starts playing well again. Such is the premise against which the book is set.

In Fever Pitch, Nick Hornby takes us
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Rob
I came to Fever Pitch in a slightly roundabout way. I'm seeing someone with a couple of Nick Hornby books on her shelf, and feeling I had read some rather poor books recently -- and that few of my ways to book recommendations were leading me to books I enjoyed of late -- I had been thinking of giving Hornby a go. I still procrastinated it for a while, but I was thinking fondly, recently, of my experience with Jonathan Tropper and I happened to see something online comparing the two.

So I looked u
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Sudhamshu Hebbar
If you are Football fan, you must read this book. If you are a Sports fan, obsessed with players, statistics and trivia, you must read this book. If you have difficulty explaining to others who can't understand your obsession, then you must make them read this book.
Being an Arsenal fan myself, I had wanted to read Fever Pitch for quite long. Although the book made me realise that I'm not as obsessed about the game or the club as much as Nick Hornby, I was nodding away vigorously when he narrate
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MacK
I was happy to find in Hornby 's work a memoir for a thinking sports fan (something I aspire to be on two other websites). It's a great guide for academics who want to see exactly what drives an otherwise sane man to spend a large portion of his weekend (not to mention his salary) supporting a collection of athletes who don't really know that he exists. Hornsby's passion sears the pages, his concern and elation for formations and strategies of his beloved Arsenal eleven are apparent from the fir ...more
Margie
I am not a football fan, and had to skip over many of Hornby's descriptions of so-and-so using this foot to score the second goal in that game which was part of that one season. But the fact that Hornby felt compelled to include these details, and that he had them stored away in his brain, is part of the story.

Fever Pitch does an excellent job of describing what it means for Hornby to be an obsessed fan. He does not take the long view, he is not detached, and his analysis comes in bits and chunk
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Andrew Maccann
A tale of addiction and obsession, albeit not one we'd readily think of. A very funny insight into the delusion that is being a football supporter... no, a football fanatic, where the author lays bare all his highs, lows and personal insights while following Arsenal FC. Arguably it's essential reading for anyone who knows a friend, family member or lover with a passion for sport & they just can't understand the rationale behind their compulsion. It's certainly a "warts and all" portrayal, as ...more
Sergiy Svitlooky
Hornby managed to describe with passion and grace a period in the Arsenal history when the team was not a valuable target for support. He listed point by point how it feels like to be supporting a mediocre team and keep loyalty to it waiting for a good day. The Hillsborough part is absolutely mind blowing. Every page is saturated with horror and pain of what football can bring apart from joy.

The book ends with a pessimistic note and the author did not not know that Arsenal would have its moments
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Abhinav
'Fever Pitch' by Nick Hornby isn't just a memoir - it's a part love-story, part hate-story & part never-ending obsession. This book probably explains almost all the reasons why you started supporting a football club. Even if it inflicted upon you a lot of pain at times.

Loved how Hornby tends to remember important past incidents in his life through the dates of the games Arsenal played around the same time. Believe me, I liked this book immensely. But will I regard it as a classic of football
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Nicole
This book was unbelievably tiresome.

I've read Hornby's fiction in the past with enjoyment, so I was expecting something better out of him here. I expected ties to class and race and politics and how fandom is a thing, sociologically. I expected some kind of real growth or enlightenment on the part of the fan writing. I expected, especially given Hornby's fiction, a moment that works like a plot high point, wherein he realizes that soccer is not and should not trump everything and everyone else i
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Clay
Nick Hornby... what can you say about this guy? He's really a brilliant narrator. Sometimes he's talking nonsense and you don't agree at all, but you'd still enjoy reading it. The way he sees things is just so funny!

I'll be honest and let you know that A Long Way Down and High Fidelity were much better. Fever Pitch is a very good book nevertheless.
Andrew
So, little bit of a football fan. But not in Nick Hornby's division.

There's not a lot out there that captures what it means to support a club. The agony. Followed by the disappointment. Followed by the pain. With the occasional moment of ineffable joy at the little flick sending a defender the wrong way. Hornby gets this. Was he wrong to ignore the prone body of his collapsed girlfriend and continue cheering the lads?

Absolutely not.

Because the team needed him. And this is what he explains in a m
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Anna
I admit it, I really liked it. I don't know whether I would have done if I hadn't been an ardent football supporter of my local club through my teenage years (yes it is possible to be a horse riding girl who is also into football). It gets 3 stars for the book it is and another because I'm glad it launched Hornby's career.
Ann Frost
Only the second book I have ever read more than once. Enjoyed it a lot the first time, and even more this time. So much more than just a book about soccer.
Panagiotis
I do not know if this is the best book about football. But surely it is a book that every single football fan is going to love. Through it's pages, Hornby describes every single thing, that every football fan around the globe, has ever thought,said and done. The beginning, the bonding with the team, the wins, the defeats, all the moments that have to do with the relationship which each individual has with this sport and mostly the team he loves.

Without becoming tiring at any point, Horby present
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Lauren
Of two things I am certain: I love Nick Hornby. I hate soccer. If you love both, boy are you going to enjoy this book. If you only love soccer...well, you are probably illiterate and Hornby would be wasted on you. If you only love the writer, then like me you may absolutely scratch your head over some of the behaviors detailed in this book, you may get bored of the endless stream of team players and stats, but you will truly appreciate the biography that is woven in. For Hornby, soccer doesn't j ...more
Chris
It took me a little while to get into the sort of journal-entry style of this book, but once I did, I loved it. I've always been a fan of dry British humor, and though I wouldn't call this book "humor", it definitely has flashes of that wry charm. Though he's a much longer-suffering fan than I am, and has a much, much better memory than I do, I found much to relate to in his writing. I felt that the way he addressed Heysel and Hillsborough were both simple and profound.

I can easily imagine pick
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Nick Hornby is the author of the novels A Long Way Down, Slam, How to Be Good, High Fidelity, and About a Boy, and the memoir Fever Pitch. He is also the author of Songbook, a finalist for a National Book Critics Circle Award, Shakespeare Wrote for Money, and The Polysyllabic Spree, as well as the editor of the short-story collection Speaking with the Angel. He is a recipient of the American Acade ...more
More about Nick Hornby...
High Fidelity About a Boy A Long Way Down How to Be Good Juliet, Naked

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“For alarmingly large chunks of an average day, I am a moron.” 124 likes
“I have always been accused of taking the things I love - football, of course, but also books and records - much too seriously, and I do feel a kind of anger when I hear a bad record, or when someone is lukewarm about a book that means a lot to me.” 71 likes
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