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This book brought back a lot of memories for me. High school football can be the moment of glory for many out there, then reflected upon as a chapter in life that one will spend the majority of his life with his best days behind him.
This book isn't completely focused on the Permian program itself, but also shows how life was in 1980's Odessa Texas. It covers the town history, racial tensions, and oil boom/bust periods. But above it all, it reveals a town's pride for its high school football team that shines through—pride that is fundamental to its nature, to its identity. These people depend on high school football to survive. More than just an escape from the financial ruin that has set in since the Texas oil bust, high school football is the only thing that matters. They live vicariously through these teenagers, these children, as if they are somehow their only connection to anything good or right in the world. Bissinger describes how as the seniors finished their final games, the shock of no longer being relevant sets in, and they turn into just another fan afterwards.
I found myself getting caught up in it: the excitement, the rush, the adrenaline of the game. It’s dangerous. It’s dangerous to glamorize something that should really only represent a small part of someone’s life, but it was easy to understand how one could get wrapped up in it. That's a concept a lot of former players can relate to.
Overall: I liked this book. Although at times I thought the history of the town portions were too much of a page filler rather than useful information. The main problem is that this book is about so many things - the history of the town, the lives of the people in it, and obviously, football. If you've got an interest in Texas and football, this is a good place to start. Heck, you might even get an itch to go see a high school football game yourself afterwards.
The narrator Tom Stechschulte is a personal favorite of mine, and he did a great job on this book.
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3 of 3 people found this review helpful
What made the experience of listening to Friday Night Lights the most enjoyable?
More of a sociological treatise than a football book, it still holds up well after almost thirty years. It examines what happens when a Texas town (Odessa) emphasizes football over academics. The results are not surprising but the story follows several players of different races and that makes up the bulk of the story.
Who was your favorite character and why?
Liked all of the student/football players equally well. What happens to each is fascinating.
Which character – as performed by Tom Stechschulte – was your favorite?
Did not have one. The narration was fine but I docked one star because the narrator sometimes sounded like he had a cold.
Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?
Silly question but it was a riveting listen.
Any additional comments?
I recommend this audiobook highly!
2 of 2 people found this review helpful