Friday, November 13, 2015

Review of "Playing for Pizza" - audiobook

I realized that it had been a long time since I listened to an audio book on my commute so I decided to pick this one up from the library when I was perusing the books on CD section. While the book has been out for a few years, I still decided to listen instead of read.  It turned out to be the right choice.  Here is my review of the audio book of "Playing for Pizza."

“Playing for Pizza” by John Grisham, narrated by Christopher Evan Welch

Football (American), fiction, Europe, audio book

Publish date:
September 24, 2007

262 pages

4 of 5 stars (very good)

Rick Dockery was the third-string quarterback for the Cleveland Browns when he turned in one of the worst performances in the history of the NFL playoffs when the Browns turned a 17 point lead in the AFC Championship game into a loss to Denver.  Mercilessly ridiculed and cut by the Browns, no other team wants to take a chance on him. His agent does find a team that will give Rick a chance – and make him the starting quarterback as well.

The team is named the Parma Panthers and they play in the Italian league – in Italy.  That is the scenario for this fictional football story by John Grisham. Taking a break from his legal novels, Grisham’s story of a washed-up quarterback finding redemption, friends and his place in life on the other side of the world. The story itself is entertaining but very predictable. There are twists in the football fortunes of the Panthers, in Rick’s attitude toward Italy and his teammates and also his love life. The football portions describe the game fairly well and in a manner that is simple enough that casual fans will understand the action.  Readers will feel the tension as the season marches toward the Italian Super Bowl, which for these players is just as important as the one that is a bit more popular in the United States.

While the story itself and every subplot such as Rick’s encounters with the ladies and the descriptions of Italian food and cathedrals can at times seem to be overpowering the football, what really made this audio book a very good choice was the excellent narration by Christopher Evan Welch.  When he had to speak the part of an Italian, whether a male or female character, it sounded authentic and not forced.  His different voice inflections for each character, whether American or Italian, were superb.  Plus, he made the story sound dramatic even though nearly every scene was predictable and didn’t leave much suspense. 

If I had read this book, it would have been worth three stars, as I would have stuck with the story to the end and as mentioned earlier, it was mildly entertaining.  But with such outstanding narration by Welch, that gives the audio book a rating of four stars and I am glad that I took the option of listening to this book. 

Book Format Read:
Audio book

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