Playing for Pizza
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Playing for Pizza

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3.36 of 5 stars 3.36  ·  rating details  ·  27,543 ratings  ·  3,024 reviews
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

After providing what is arguably the worst single performance in the history of the NFL, third-string quarterback Rick Dockery becomes a national laughingstock. Cut by the Cleveland Browns, and shunned by every other team, Rick insists that his agent find a team that does need him. Against enormous odds, Rick lands a job—as the starting quarterb...more
Paperback, 272 pages
Published August 23rd 2011 by Bantam (first published 2007)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Ted
Jan 02, 2008 Ted rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  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...more
Mark
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
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
Mistersportsquiz
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
a departure from Grishams usual, nevertheless i loved this book. the writing seemed so effortless and the characters are enjoyable.
Jules Q (Nolatari)
Dec 04, 2013 Jules Q (Nolatari) rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  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
Tom
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
April
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
Bobbi
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
Charly
Sep 30, 2013 Charly rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  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.
06FosterK
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
Janell
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
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...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
Bybees
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
Trudy
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
Seamus
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
Eva LeNoir
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
Jarod
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
Blake
This book is about Rick Dockery, a third-string quarterback for the Cleveland Browns. He screws up in a playoff game, throwing the pass directly to the opposing Denver Broncos, giving himself his third concussion, a trip to the hospital, and a bad reputation. Wanting to help Rick continue playing football, even though he is unwanted by all NFL teams on the North American continent, Rick's agent finally finds him a job playing football for a team in Italy. Rick only agrees because he is promised...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
Johnny
Until Skipping Christmas, I had thought that Grisham was completely locked into formula novels. I had loved The Firm, The Pelican Brief (even though it is so often criticized for its improbability), The Client, and The Rainmaker, but thought The Runaway Jury was stale and contrived. Then, I read Skipping Christmas and The King of Torts. I suddenly realized that everything wasn't formula for Grisham. Recently, I read The Last Juror and thought it was a delightful book, even if the mystery angle w...more
Mark
“Playing For Pizza” by John Grisham is a good-hearted novel about the fundamentals of perseverance, and the realization of international culture and competition. The third-person storyline surrounds Rick Dockery, a NFL third-string quarterback for Cleveland. In the AFC Championship game, Rick was brought onto the field as a last resort because of various injuries. Days after regaining consciousness in the hospital, Rick realized that he gave up three passes in eleven minutes. In retrospect, he s...more
Hassaan
So I felt nostalgic for writers I'd read as a kid. And suddenly this book turned up on my radar and I thought, hey, why not?

A few pages into the book, I was able to answer that question: Because I had zero knowledge of how American Football worked. Unfortunately rendered most of the book as gibberish for me. However, the setting was interesting (felt like the early buildup from the film In Bruges, quaint little town, historically significant, good food and people), the characters were rather int...more
Maria Ulery
Loved this book, quick easy read about an NFL 3rd string quarterback who basically sucks and loses the big game in America. At last ditch effort his agent wants rid of him and frankly Rick needs to get out of town! He wakes up after a hit at the hospital and fans want him dead! Agent Arie gets him talked into taking an easy job in the new NFL in Italy, football americano! After much ado Rick goes. However once he gets there the people, the place everything changes, he is still a bit of a putz bu...more
Sandeep
I have read "a painted house " from Grisham and found it as one of his very easy paced books. And when I read the back cover of this one, I felt it is going to be of the similar narration style. Absolutely no drama - a book just as easy as driving on 5th gear on an empty highway during sunset.

Rick Dockery is an American Footballer (read rugby) who is already having a very average career, and manages to mess it up further with just a single match. His agent, unable to find any team who can take...more
Andrew Hart
A friend sent me this book a while back, knowing that I like American Football. Two things, however, have meant that it’s been lumped on my bookcase in “the stack”. Firstly, it’s by John Grisham. Whilst I enjoyed some of his earlier stuff, his work is mainly the litary equivilant to a bowl of Doritos. And secondly, it describes itself as “a heart-warming tale”. Yeuch.

Anyway, I was actually in the mood for something pretty light, so this got picked up the other day. Needless to say, it does exact...more
Kevin
Rick Dockery is the classic NFL journeyman quarterback. He travels from team to team playing with whoever will give him whatever paltry paycheck he can scrounge up. Yet he serves as nothing more than a third-string backup to a backup wherever he winds up. However, while playing for the Cleveland Browns in the AFC Championship game, he gets called to helm the team when the other two ahead of him go out injured. Upon recovering in a hospital bed from a massive concussion that rendered him unconsci...more
Dalia
This story is actually quite a nice story, very enjoyable to read, and it actually makes you very very "hungry". The description and the characters are all so beautiful and the story is not a typical one you'd find in any other book. It's as unique as it is sweet and somehow funny as well, but i was taken aback by the ending of the story! It was not quite the ending i expected, not that I wanted a cliche happy ending, but to be honest, it was the type of ending that left you with no actual endin...more
Steven Dzwonczyk
May 11, 2012 Steven Dzwonczyk rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone with a Y-chromosome.
My wife read this book a while back and hated it. But I like John Grisham and I like pizza. Still, it languished on my "Wish List" at my local library. The list eventually grew thin as I methodically worked through it but never went back to replenish it. Anyway, "Playing for Pizza" finally sifted its way to the top of the pile and I chose to enjoy it as an audio book.

This book was very good from a guy's perspective; it's food, sex, and football. An uncomplicated story line following a washed up...more
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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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