Bleachersby Published 15 Jul 2004
High school All-American Neely Crenshaw was probably the best quarterback ever to play for the legendary Messina Spartans. Fifteen years have gone by since those glory days, and Neely has come home to Messina to bury Coach Eddie Rake, the man who molded the Spartans into an unbeatable football dynasty.
As Coach Rake's 'boys' sit in the bleachers waiting for the dimming field lights to signal his passing, they replay the old glories, and try to decide once and for all whether they love Eddie Rake – or hate him. For Neely Crenshaw, still struggling to come to terms with his explosive relationship with the Coach, his dreams of a great career in the NFL, and the choices he made as a young man, the stakes could not be higher.
It was not fun. Guys who played high school football 15 yrs ago reminisce about the past. Melancholy and sadness.
Eddie Rake was a tough, mean, high school football coach with undefeated teams for many years. He now has cancer and is expected to die any day. Guys who used to play football for him have returned to town for the coming funeral. Neely was a star quarterback in high school. His career was cut short due to a knee injury in college. Neely talks with other guys about the past.
This isn’t the kind of storytelling I’m used to from Grisham. It’s not as fun. Almost everything is being “told” not shown. We listen to the guys reminisce and remember events from the past. It was interesting in a newspaper reporting kind of way. There is no excitement, suspense, or anticipation. I didn’t feel anything as I listened. I didn’t laugh or smile. At best it was ok. I felt the author may have been experimenting - trying a different style of writing.
Some of it was about brutality and violence in football. A lot of it was sad to see what happens to football players after they no longer play. I was sad for Neely at the losses in his life. His wrecked knee. He lost the only two women he ever loved. He broke up with one of them for a stupid reason, and he regrets it. He had no desire to study and better himself after his football career was over. He’s not happy. He’s resigned to life.
The author narrated his own book which was ok. It was interesting to hear his southern accent.
Unabridged audiobook story length: 4 hrs and 22 mins. Swearing language: none that I recall. Sexual content: none. Setting: current day Messina, Mississippi. Book copyright: 2003. Genre: football fiction. Ending: sad, resigned, life goes on.
This is a novella or a short story, not a novel.
When you're a best selling novelist you can get anything published.
This is a homage to those American high school coaches who inspired their teams. Nothing new or interesting here.
Listen to "Glory Days" by Springsteen and he says more on this subject in three minutes than Grisham does in 180 pages.
I do own Grisham books, but only because family members keep buying them for me on birthday's and xmas's. I smile politely and thank them, wishing they would include the receipt. I have read this, and i don't recommend it unless you are 10 years old and want to start reading adult fiction. Dull, dull, dull. How this man is a best-selling writer is reflection of today's society's IQ.
Fifteen years after swearing he would never return, Neely Crenshaw finds himself back in Messina, Texas, awaiting final word that local legend and former football coach Eddie Rake has died. When he left, Neely had become a local legend as one of the best quarterbacks in Messina High's history, but a falling out between him and the coach left him bitter and kept him away until this moment. Now, he finds himself drudging up the specters of the past with his former teammates as well as other former Rake players from other eras. This is a very painful novel to read having played high school football myself and I share many of the same feelings towards my old coach as Neely does — and as I'm sure many other former athletes do — despite the fact that I was not a star, hell I wasn't even a first stringer. In all honesty, this feels like a novelized version of what a sequel to the movie Varsity Blues would be. It's easy to tell that this story is very close to Grisham's heart and that he took the writing of this book very seriously as there are no cheesy subplots or alternate storylines to detract from the main story at hand. My only complaint was that this book was far too short. Clocking in at a mere 163 pages, this novel can be cranked out in one sitting and I felt that more could have been developed upon.
A High school football star comes back to his hometown to bid farewell to his dying coach. The book is about group of friends reminiscing the glory days of playing together and their relationship with their coach.
Word of caution : The book is centered around American football and their recollections of their memorable games (incl a long play by play commentary of 1 particular game). So if you have no idea about the game, you will find it annoying after a point.
Sadly,the relationship between the coach and the players and the players themselves is never fully explored and the emotional ending at the end feels totally flat. Overall 2/5