Anthony's Reviews > Friday Night Lights: A Town, a Team, and a Dream

Friday Night Lights by H.G. Bissinger
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M_50x66
's review
Oct 28, 11


Quite simply one of the best books I've ever read. Against the backdrop of high school football, Bissinger weaves a captivating tale of a town and state grappling with race, class, and a host of other major issues. The access Bissinger had to players, coaches and other people give this book a realism and authenticity that just makes the story, struggles and triumph leap off the page. The authors recounting how the oil boom and then bust shaped the landscape of Texas and how hard times elevate the importance of high school football to mythic levels. In many ways the team is the THING giving the town and its people a sense of hope and pride.

Boobie Miles, the star running back and an African-American, is one of the central figures. In Boobie you have a young man who many could see as embodying some of the worst of sports culture; arrogance, a seemingly me-first selfishness, and a loud mouth, boasting, sense of entitlement. Yet, you can see how this is his armor, part of what makes him perform so well on the football field, and part of what he believes will carry him to college and to future riches. His story is heart breaking because football is all he has, and when events unfold to threaten this, he is left a very lost, sad, young man.

It reminds us how much poor kids and black kids put all their hopes and dreams in sports and how quickly those dreams can turn to nightmares. My favorite part of the book is how it deals with these issues of "diversity" and how it shows the often harsh underbelly of a country that still likes to pretend that issues like race and class don't exist. Though the book is set during the 1980's, it still had a reasonance for me reading it in the 2000's. It is a quick, dazzling read that reminds us that sports aren't always just a game.
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