Fever Pitch by Nick Hornby
Julie & Me, and Michael Owen Makes Three
Julie & Me: The Treble Year
— by Alan Gibbons, Blue Peter Book Award Winner
FP’s blurb says: In America, it is soccer. But in Great Britain, it is the real football. Well, thank you, Captain Obvious! I’m sure that women wish a man would write about loving her the way Hornby writes about loving soccer. And I’m going to call it soccer – because that’s what it’s EFFING CALLED!
Here’s an insider secret for you: no one feckin’ cares that we call it soccer while the rest of the world calls it football. In the US, we use two words for the simple reason that WE NEED TWO WORDS. That’s it. No drama. No language academy rapping our knuckles. No wanking anglophilic snobbery. So all you language snobs, put your snobbery to good use and get rid of “y’know”, “so, like”, “get your ____ on”, “you go, girl/guy”, and all those other pimply, urban adolescent brain farts.
But, so, like…yeah, Fever Pitch. The blurb on the American paperback edition (ISBN 1573226882) was written by a man – you can tell. The standard male-friendly phrases make up the bulk of the paragraph.
“No pads, no prayers, no prisoners.” Personally, I think it would have been more dramatic if the writer had separated the items with periods instead of commas.
“incisive analysis of insanity” Is the writer auditioning for Monday Night Football?
“fandom” The writer is a young-ish man. Maybe a Gen-Xer?
“coming-of-age” Men place a lot of sentiment on their rites of passage. Must be some Jungian-primal-hunter/gatherer thing. It’s not bad, just not original.
The blurb is basically a string of clichés about sports and sports stories. And, there’s nothing in it for women. You have to go beyond the blurb. There’s an utterly pointless quote from some slag (maybe) at ELLE magazine who calls it “Utterly hilarious”. But it’s not “utterly hilarious”. It’s amusing, sensitive, thoughtful, introspective, interesting, exciting, and clever. It makes you chuckle. It makes you feel smart when you get the in-jokes. What it ain’t, is “utterly hilarious”. If it’s utterly anything, it’s utterly clever.
I quite like GQ’s quote:
“highly perceptive and honest”
Under the covers, I like the way the story is organized by Arsenal games. Each chapter has to do with an Arsenal game and what was going on in the life of Rob. There’s hardly any dialogue. It’s almost all rumination. How self-absorbed is that! There’s tons of name-dropping of famous soccer players – the giants and jesters of the sport. Yep, you’re going to feel really smart about English soccer when you’re done with this book.