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Fever Pitch

3.74  ·  Rating details ·  31,738 ratings  ·  1,370 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, 247 pages
Published March 1st 1998 by Riverhead Books (first published 1992)
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3.74  · 
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 ·  31,738 ratings  ·  1,370 reviews


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Ed
Mar 15, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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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Bucko
Jan 29, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This is a complicated book. On the one hand it is a highly personal look at the shortcomings of one man and (or should I say because of?) his obsession with a British football (soccer) team, seemingly so narrow in scope that I have a hard time thinking anyone but an Arsenal fan would enjoy it. On the other hand, it just might be the greatest sports book ever written, enabling those who don't "get" sports to understand how and why certain people they love can care so much about a bunch of grown m ...more
Phrynne
Oct 14, 2015 rated it it was ok
Just an okay book which is disappointing from this author. I expected more. There were hints of his usual entertaining writing style and at least having grown up in the same time frame in the UK I did know some of what he was talking about. However his descriptions of his obsession were actually very sad and he came across as a rather shallow and unlikeable individual. I think I would have liked to hear more about his life and less about who kicked which goal at which match whenever. I have to s ...more
Moira
Jan 25, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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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Toby
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
Ashley
NB: I received a free copy of this book from the Goodreads First Reads Program, but that has not affected the content of my review.

I wanted to like this more than I did. I've read several of Nick Hornby's novels, and as I generally enjoy reading about sports and I enjoy memoirs and humor, I figured this book would be a gimme for me. But sadly, it wasn't.

To say that Nick Hornby was obsessed with football/soccer is an extremely large understatement. And like all people with true obsessions, if yo
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Abhishek
Dec 15, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Vishy
Jul 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I first discovered 'Fever Pitch' when I first discovered Nick Hornby years back - we read one of his novels for book club. I got it at that time and have been waiting for the right time to read it. Last week when I was thinking of which book to read next, 'Fever Pitch' leapt at me. I thought it was the perfect time to read it, with the World Cup on.

'Fever Pitch' is Nick Hornby's account of his life as a football fan. In the book, he talks about how his father took him to his first football matc
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Megan
Jan 10, 2011 rated it really liked it
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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Rob
Jun 04, 2013 rated it it was ok
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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Cecilia
Sep 15, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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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Sannie
Sep 12, 2009 rated it really liked it
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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Anbu
Jun 29, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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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Pia P.
For someone who's only background on football are a handful of Azkal games and pictures of hot shirtless football players my friends try to entice me with, I honestly loved this book.

Nick Hornby tends to get too technical with his descriptions (and maybe, as a responsible reader, I should've at least tried to look up(/ask my friends about) the terms? but I'm lazy af) but that didn't take away from the experience. I'm honestly glad I made the executive decision to pace myself while reading it in
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Siddharth
Feb 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourites
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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Barnaby Haszard Morris
Man-child bares all. There's an unsympathetic review for you. Really, I learned a lot from this book -- about England, about men of a certain age and time, about class and race, about mental health, about true fanatical football fandom; but more than anything about how frightening the terraces at Highbury or Stamford Bridge or Anfield would have been to me, a lover of football and hater of antisocial behaviour, and how they would likely be just as unappealing today. That Hornby doesn't shy away ...more
Jack Silbert
Oct 29, 2011 rated it really liked it
OK, OK, it took me five months to read this book. Wait, I can explain.

I picked up a used copy for a buck at a library book sale. I started reading it during the last couple of weeks of my employment at the company where I'd worked for 19 years. So, it was a pretty heavy time. And during that last week.... I lost the book. Could not find it anywhere. Wasn't at the office; I'd packed up the office. But it wasn't at home. Did I leave it somewhere? That would be very unlike me. It would have to turn
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MacK
Aug 04, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, brit-lit
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
Gaurav Vartak
Jan 29, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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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Margie
Oct 06, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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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Nicole van der Elst
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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Anne
Jul 28, 2007 rated it liked it
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
Sergiy Svitlooky
May 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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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Andrew Maccann
May 16, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
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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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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Dipali
Aug 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
As an Arsenal and football (it's football okay? Not soccer!) fan, there's no way I wouldn't love this. Nick Hornby nails the thoughts, rituals and mindset of a football fanatic (and gooner) perfectly. I really enjoyed this book and Hornby's voice. I would really love to see a follow-up though. I'd love to know how he felt during the Invincibles and the following trophy drought. And what he thinks of Henry and Bergkamp and Ozil and Sanchez. Basically I want to know everything he thinks of Arsenal ...more
Clay
Nov 04, 2012 rated it really liked it
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 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.
Anna
Aug 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
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.
Rishi Prakash
Nov 02, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I got this much elusive book from an online store which keeps old books, big thanks to my dear friend who helped me here :-)

This book is a perfect depiction of a fan's obsession with his/her beloved team! It is a real funny autobiography in which the writer's life is measured not in years, but in seasons - not by the Gregorian calendar, but by the Gunners(Arsenal Football Club) fixture list. I've read no better account of what being a fan really means :-)

The best part in the book is the "connec
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7,361 followers
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
“For alarmingly large chunks of an average day, I am a moron.” 138 likes
“I fell in love with football as I was later to fall in love with women: suddenly, inexplicably, uncritically, giving no thought to the pain or disruption it would bring with it.” 96 likes
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