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Friday Night Lights: A Town, a Team, and a Dream
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Friday Night Lights: A Town, a Team, and a Dream

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  41,115 Ratings  ·  1,961 Reviews
In the state of Texas American football is a religion. And nowhere is more fanatical about its football than the small town of Odessa. There, every Friday night from September to November, a bunch of seventeen-year-old kids play their hearts out for the honour of their high school. In front of 20,000 people.

In 1988 H.G. Bissinger spent a season in Odessa discovering just
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Kindle Edition, 402 pages
Published (first published 1988)
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Ian I really liked this book. Its very intersesting and when i read it in 6th grade it wasnt too diffucult. He shouldnt have much problems!!!(:
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Jason
Jun 04, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: for-kindle, 2012, reviewed
This book is heartbreaking.

I grew up in a very liberal part of the country. My family is comprised mostly of hard-working European immigrants who value education above all else. In many ways, I should be the last person able to appreciate or understand life in small-town Texas with its conservative values and its unhealthy obsession with high school sports. Yet, I actually did attend a private junior/senior high school with a hockey program that is probably the best in the country. We won the st
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Paul
Oct 01, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was on an airplane one Friday night when I was reading this book. As the plane took off from Cleveland I noticed a high school football game in progress. I could see the lights.. the two teams on the field.. the crowd and the marching band. I watched the field as long as I could. Just at the point when I couldn't see the stadium anymore my eye caught the lights of another football field. Then.. when I looked out over the countryside I noticed that there were football games in most of the small ...more
Jenny (Reading Envy)
May 20, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jenny (Reading Envy) by: Philip
Shelves: read2016, sportsing
"Life really wouldn't be worth livin' if you didn't have a high school team to support."
In the Reading class I am teaching in May 2016, I challenged my students to read a book from a genre they had not read. I played along, and ended up reading an Amish romance and this sports book. One reading friend talked about this book on an episode of the Reading Envy podcast and made it sound pretty compelling, sports or no sports.

"You'd watch these kids play, and it seem like somethin' burning would be i
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Charles
Mar 03, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
If you think this book is about high school football in Texas, you're pretty much wrong. There is a fair amount about football, but this book is really a sort of sociological study of a small Texas town where Football is played. There is a lot about the difficulties of the local economy after the oil slump, and in general the book gives what I thought was a fairly negative view of the people and their preoccupations.

I almost never like movies better than books, but in this case I thought the mo
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Taylor
I didn't grow up in a football-watching family. My father, who apparently loved the game, passed away when I was young. My mother was much more interested in baseball, and had coworkers with season tickets, so I grew up going to the Kingdome to watch Ken Griffey Jr., Randy Johnson, Joey Cora, Edgar Martinez, Jay Buhner, Dan Wilson... I even spent my high school prom night at Safeco Field, watching Freddy Garcia pitch a great game against the Yankees (who he'd eventually join, years later, sigh) ...more
Shirley
Feb 07, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It's not a surprise that I loved this book. It is about high school football.

I watched a lot of football growing up (Friday nights: high school football; Saturday: University of Colorado football; Sunday: NFL football - I was a huge 49ers fan). I probably could have done something great with all the hours I spent watching football. Ah well.

My high school football team won the state championship, and I remember it as a glory day - it was snowing, the team was playing in then-Folsom Field (the U
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Dan
Jul 29, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
My friends Matt & Cassie introduced us to the television show "Friday Night Lights" this past winter. I had only heard of it on blogs before then and never really paid any attention to it.

Wow, was I late to the party. The television show is excellent and I highly recommend it, even if you don't like football.

Being the bookworm that I am, I had to find the inspiration for the television show. I actually bought a copy of the book for my friend Matt for Christmas and the four of us eventually d
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Carol
Jun 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, sports
If you love football, Friday Night Lights likely will be the best sports book you've ever read. If you don't love football, and aren't an avid nonfiction reader? FNL likely will be the best nonfiction book you've ever read.

FNL is about the stories communities tell themselves. It's about how we live our values, collectively, how we relate to one another, how we motivate ourselves, our priorities, how we rationalize public policy, spending, the ways we view and talk about race, high school. It's a
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Chris
Aug 13, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sports, reporting
Dear Mr. Bissinger,

I think watching the Intelligent Squared debate you were in is great. I loved the television series based on this book. I learned something about myself while reading this. Even good writing such as yours, does not make me care a whit about football.


Lukas Kott
Sep 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I think Friday night lights was actually a really cool book and I enjoyed reading it and didn't have to force myself to read it. Was a great sport about football and life in high school. Living in Texas how it's different living their in a small town that's so passionate about the sport they play and it means so much to everyone in the town. I wanted to feel like I was in the town and one of the football players.
"Clear eyes. full heart. Can't lose" - Coach Taylor I like this quote because it's t
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Jerrodm
Aug 21, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a fantastic book. I felt sick to my stomach reading it.

I played football in high school in a place where there was much more than high school football for most people to do on a Friday night. I can relate to some aspects of the story: football games were the only sporting events in my school where admission was charged, they drew probably five times the attendees of any other sport, and we wore our jerseys proudly to school on pep rally days and were probably afforded more attention as a
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CJ H
Oct 22, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
CJ Herron

Mrs. Ebarvia

World Lit

10/21/08

H.G. Bissinger was born in New York City in November of 1954. He spent time writing for the Philadelphia inquirer. Friday Night Lights by H.G. Bissinger is about a small town in Texas called Odessa. Permian High school football is a way of life and almost every kid dreams of wearing the black and white under Friday night lights some day. Permian’s goal in the 1988 season was to reach the state championship. The competition is high and the road is tough, but
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Neil Powell
Feb 11, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is about so much more than American Football. On the surface, it tells the story of the Permian Panthers, the high school football team from Permian High School in Odessa, Texas. It focuses on 6 of the senior players and some of the coaching staff. It gives us accounts of their backgrounds, families and their feelings about school, life and playing football.

The season in question (1988) was supposed to be the year where the team were too good, they were meant to win the state champion
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Alicen
This true story is an incredibly powerful telling of the role football played for this group of young men growing up in rural West Texas in the 1980's. I felt completely immersed in the world the author captured and was I captivated by how he managed to show both the positives and the negatives of such a world, often at the very same time. It felt honest and raw, and I didn't want it to end.

"the solemn ritual that was attached to almost everything, made them seem like boys going off to fight a
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Kirsti
Affecting, amusing, alarming, appalling account of the winningest high-school football team in Texas. (Apparently this review was brought to you by the letter A.) Along the way, Bissinger discusses popularity, racism, sexism, fresh-baked cookies, memories, oil, home economics, class conflicts, statutory rape, algebra, the savings-and-loan crisis, lowered expectations, skewed priorities, algebra, and armed robbery.

Some of my favorite passages:

Coach Belew: "I want one hell of a wreck out there. I
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Rachel Bryan
Really enjoyed most of this. The actual football games though... snooze.
Carol Storm
Mar 27, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Classic reporting, but needs more football and less patronizing social commentary on those poor ignorant Texans and how they "cling" to oil and football!
Lynn Lebo-planas
There are some really interesting sections about the condemnation of football and the institutional racism in a town like Odessa, but it felt loooooooong and could have lost about 50 pages.
First Second Books
Recommended by Gene Luen Yang! What more do I really need to say?

Also: really interesting about sports and racial politics.
Derrick Brungraber

Texas is one of the most populous states in the United States. There are hundreds of thousands of kids that play football in Texas but the small town of Odessa has some of the best players in the country on the Permian football squad. The Permian Panthers are just 52 men looking to be number one in the football world of Texas. H.G. Bissinger gives the reader a look into the life of a coach and his kids in a school rich with a winning history and the want to be great. Bissinger illustrates what i
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Katelyn Loehrke
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Michael
"Friday Night Lights: A Town, A Team, and A Dream"
By H.G. Bissinger

Before I knew of the book, I knew of the TV show, which itself grew out of the film adaptation. And I knew it was about high school football in the heart of Texas where football and religion were one and the same. I don't count myself as a fan of sports movies but I do watch them from time to time, but you won't find me actively searching for one. So it went with "Friday Night Lights". The film adaption came and went in theaters
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Makayla Osterberg
Jan 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: american-lit
Growing up a football watcher and managing our local high school football team, it is no surprise that I enjoyed H.G. Bissinger’s book Friday Night Lights.
Bissinger does a great job of painting a picture while you’re reading and letting you get to know the characters. You can imagine yourself with the six senior starters and part of the coaching staff in the run-down town, at the games, and attending practice while dying of the Texas heat and drinking the unsanitary water. Making you want to re
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Joe Barron
“Friday Night Lights”
Let me start by saying, that I don’t read any books at all, but this is a book that I tried,
and was not able to put down. The book “Friday Night Lights” is made to go inside the
heads of these football athletes that are from a little and very western town that all the
citizens there breathe Permian (The Local High School) football.
People will hear the usual cliché from football players about how they always will
remember and love playing under the “Friday Night Lights”. I never
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Pamela
Jun 16, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
First, having grown up in a small town in West Texas, I want to make it clear that Odessa is NOT a small town. It may be small compared to Philly, but in Texas, it is not small. Denver City, where I grew up has a population of less than 4,000. That is small!

I read this after reading Mitch Cullin's brilliant "Whompyjawed." Big mistake. Although Cullin's book is fiction, it captures the atmosphere of small town football so much better than this. I'm not saying that Bissinger's book isn't good--it'
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Joe Mccahon
May 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
#4
The first third of the novel is the background of the little town in Texas called Odessa. In this little town, it may not have big corporations or a booming economy, but I does have one thing, high school football. The local high school team, the Panthers, has a great tradition of succeeding in football. To the players on the team and even the locals of Odessa, their "American Dream" is to win state. As one of the largest states in the US, Texas is also one of the best at football. That tall
...more
Max K.
Nov 02, 2014 is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
“Friday Night Lights” is a true story of a high school football team in Odessa, Texas with the hopes and dreams of another championship title. In the book star player James “Boobie” Miles is the Panthers ticket there and they feel as if without him they are never going to make it. Well that hope becomes a reality in a scrimmage one week before opening day Boobie injures his knee, leaving all the pressure on quarterback Mike Winchell and Boobies back up Chris Comer. Sure enough the first game wit ...more
Rocky Lunceford
Oct 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A main character in the book was Boobie Miles. He was an all around perfect running back. He had every attribute you would want from a man playing that position such as speed, size, physical strength, mental toughness and just a plain meanness about him when he was on the football field. He would never be denied what he wanted on the field. He played high school football for the Permian Panthers in the great state of Texas. Football is everything in Texas and especially high school football. Boo ...more
Booz Crooz
Dec 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Novel Friday Night Lights was an absolutely spectacular book. From start to finish, it was near impossible to put down. It is the story of a high school football team in Odessa, Texas, that seems to be winning championships every single year no matter what. But in Odessa, football is much more than a game: it is the heart and soul of the whole town. Each one of their games has at least 19,000 fans yelling, screaming, and cheering them on. So with all these emotions, the real literature is th ...more
Patrick McCoy
Sep 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, sports
I’ve been a fan of Friday Night Lights, the movie and the TV series, and after reading an episode review at the AV Club which suggested the book had a rich sociological analysis within the story inspired me to pick up H.G. Bissinger’s book that spawned the film and TV show. I guess you could say that the central theme in the book is football as the all encompassing spectacle that ties together the West Texas community that backs its powerhouse highs school team the Permian Panthers, but through ...more
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H.G. Bissinger has won the Pulitzer Prize, the Livingston Award, the National Headliner Award, and the American Bar Association's Silver Gavel for his reporting. The author has written for the television series NYPD Blue and is a contributing editor at Vanity Fair. He lives in Philadelphia.
More about H.G. Bissinger...
“I'm gonna party, see how intoxicated I can get and how many rules I can flaunt. That's my motto.” 63 likes
“Athletics lasts for such a short period of time. It ends for people. But while it lasts, it creates this make-believe world where normal rules don’t apply. We build this false atmosphere. When it’s over and the harsh reality sets in, that’s the real joke we play on people. . . . Everybody wants to experience that superlative moment, and being an athlete can give you that. It’s Camelot for them. But there’s even life after it.” 5 likes
More quotes…