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


3.4  ·  Rating Details ·  122 Ratings  ·  23 Reviews
Superstar Gilbert Marcus rapes and kills a young woman in a hotel room during the off-season. That's the prologue. MVP is Marcus's life story from conception to his act of incredible violence. Raised an only child -- the son of a difficult and demanding father -- Gilbert Marcus, a basketball player with extraordinary skill, is expected to be the greatest. His life is one o ...more
Paperback, 352 pages
Published May 8th 2007 by Scribner (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 MVP, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about MVP

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

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 234)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Dec 25, 2012 Evan rated it liked it
This covers some of the same ground as "American Psycho" and "I Am Charlotte Simmons," but with more heart and pathos than either. The cultural button-pushing is much less cynical, and the hero is more neurotic, more unique, and thus somewhat more sympathetic. I especially liked the way Boice cut away from an otherwise nearly obsessive focus on the main character to focus intently, for a paragraph or two, on the lives of those affected by him and the repercussions of his actions ... especially a ...more
Feb 04, 2008 Megan rated it it was ok
hard for me to agree with the "new paradigm" raves on this one. sometimes I think there's a bit of a generation gap between how a new generation talks and the last generation perceives it -- the prose didn't strike me as particularly revolutionary. i have a hard time with books where I dislike many of the main characters. a personal flaw, perhaps.
Nov 12, 2008 Allison rated it liked it
This is one of those books you read for the artistry of its construction: they vivid yet impersonal style of the language, the POV shifts, the abstract-concreteness of it. This is the kind of book that I imagine my sophomore year Creative Writing Seminar Professor choosing, to go along with all of those stories that were so thought-provoking and had such poignant language, but that I didn’t quite “get.” Yet what makes Boice’s novel unusual is its here-and-now, popular culture subject: the life o ...more
Stephanie Arani
Jun 29, 2015 Stephanie Arani rated it liked it
James Boice is a very talented author. His style is enigmatic and interesting. I especially liked the interweaivng of the lives Gilbert had an impact on tangentially.

However, overall, I feel that this plot was somewhat 'been there done that.' We all know that professional athletes are often afforded too much privilege to the point that they cannot accept responsibility for the damage they caused. But overall, it was interesting and I enjoyed the book.
Mar 19, 2011 Renee rated it really liked it
This is James Boice's first novel and he masterfully employs a style all his own; unique, edgy and fresh. One does not have to be a fan of the NBA or organized sports to appreciate the well developed characters and their road to entitlement. Some say MVP is based on Kobe Bryant's life; whether it is or isn't, MVP is a gripping tale of a young kid (Gilbert Marcus)who has been groomed for nothing but the NBA his entire life, and what unveils after his arrival.
My only complaint is, at times, the a
Jun 01, 2014 Jenine rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
Excellent book. Although you empathize with some of the characters, you don't particularly like any of them. The shifts in time add another layer without being confusing or overdone.
I almost forgot how the book started by the end because I was so wrapped up in what was happening in the storyline right then.
Jan 11, 2008 Emily rated it it was ok
The first chapter was published as an Esquire short story and is fantastic... It's a fictionalized account of a Kobe Bryant-like Las Vegas hotel room situation, and it goes fast and has a relentless language style which furthers the internal nature of the narrative.
But overall the book doesn't pan out and disappointed me - everything happens in the first 8 pages and the other couple hundred are spent on a prolonged character study of a man who is capable of the best in basketball and the worst
Taylor Evans
MVP is a chilling examination of the private and public worlds of professional basketball superstar Gilbert Animal Marcus. The most disturbing aspect of Marcus is not his ultimate act of senseless violence, which frames the novel. The childish self-indulgent nature of Marcus, his inability to develop into anything resembling a real man, is what is most disturbing. The final two paragraphs of the novel, which mention the nightly routine of Marcus examining his youthful face in the mirror, summari ...more
Sep 23, 2007 Matt rated it really liked it
Riffing off a Kobe Bryant template, James Boice tells the story of an exceptional groomed from birth to become the next Darren Dickinson (for some reason Scribner's counsel weren't cool with the MJ handle).
Staring with his conception, the story selectively travels from his youth (and daily regiment of wind sprints, wheatgrass shots & coffee enemas) to a post-prime off-season mishap in a Las Vegas hotel room that ends with a single-white-nude-dead-female.
Boise's dialogue is spot-on, and has a
Jun 18, 2008 Tim rated it it was amazing
The NBA Finals reminded me of how good this book is... Boice, who published this at 25, uses the life of Kobe Bryant as the jumping off point for a story about success, corruption, and not knowing what you want. The book has lots of sharp elbows, but compassion for the people great and small who cross paths with Gilbert "Animal" Marcus. I would call this the male version of Joyce Carol Oates' "Blonde," which takes a similar fictionalized approach to the life of Marilyn Monroe. It's the last book ...more
Dec 26, 2008 Saratoga rated it it was amazing
I thought this book was stunning. Although professional basketball and rough sex are not my ideal topics for reading, I bought this book as it got a starred review in Publishers Weekly. I was really blown away by it. James Boice is an extremely talented writer who takes his readers off in unexpected directions at unexpected times. It is unfortunate that many of the mainstream book reviews, i.e., New York Times, missed this one (or if they did review it, I never saw it).
Apr 10, 2009 Paula rated it liked it
This really was a fascinating book. I hated pretty much every character in it for one reason or another, but I couldn't stop reading it. I had to find out what happened. However, it felt rather incomplete to me. The ending is really abrupt and maybe I'm just slow... but I don't get it...
Jul 17, 2008 Jo rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone that likes sports or doesn't think that they like to read
I don't know why this jumped off the shelves at me. I was interested to read a book written by someone so young. I haven't read anything with any substance lately and this filled a void. I liked the way that it jumped around without being spotty. I look forward to more.
Andrew Miller
Aug 28, 2009 Andrew Miller rated it liked it
James Boice is a fearless young author who thrives on details. Timeline gets a little screwed up without any real markers, but this is someone who clearly understands the human experience, even if it isn't his.
Aug 04, 2007 Chuck rated it it was amazing
Romanaclef about a Kobe Bryant-like personality who (possibly) rapes and kills a hotel employee. Exceptionally well-written.
John McPhee
Oct 26, 2009 John McPhee rated it liked it
an ugly story told ugly ... RIP Kobe's rep!
Dec 12, 2007 Nick rated it it was ok
Interestingly written, just not that good.
Sep 21, 2009 A. rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, 2009
Disturbing, heartbreaking, and gorgeous.
Jan 15, 2008 Justin rated it really liked it
MVP:sports fiction::Casino Royale:Bond films
Mike Keane
Jun 25, 2007 Mike Keane is currently reading it
my ex-housemates first novel. mid read.
May 26, 2009 Hilary rated it did not like it
swearing and graphic sex, no thank you
Jun 26, 2007 Graeme rated it really liked it
Death starts in the colon.
Kyle Riebesell
Kyle Riebesell marked it as to-read
Sep 12, 2016
John marked it as to-read
Aug 25, 2016
Jex rated it really liked it
Aug 14, 2016
Kristal marked it as to-read
Aug 05, 2016
Liz marked it as to-read
Jul 30, 2016
Dorothy Regnier
Dorothy Regnier marked it as to-read
Jul 27, 2016
Aminhan Lobster
Aminhan Lobster marked it as to-read
Jul 10, 2016
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Color of Night
  • The Rise of Life on Earth
  • A Carnivore's Inquiry
  • The Ferguson Affair
  • Palm Latitudes: A Novel
  • The Selected Stories of Patricia Highsmith
  • Blood on the Forge
  • Leave Her to Heaven
  • A Long Stay in a Distant Land: A Novel
  • Toys in the Attic
  • The Complete Fiction of Nella Larsen: Passing, Quicksand, and the Stories
  • Beautiful Shadow: A Life of Patricia Highsmith
  • Confession of a Murderer: Told in One Night
  • Letters to Montgomery Clift
  • The Road Through the Wall
  • A Modern Instance
  • Dirty Tricks
  • The Night of the Hunter
Novels, short stories. The Good and the Ghastly, MVP NoVA, Esquire, McSweeney’s, Fiction, Salt Hill. NYC. Boston. Cambridge. Northern Virginia.
More about James Boice...

Share This Book

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »