Playing for Pizza - John Grisham

 

If you've only read Grisham's lawyer-thrillers then this book will come as pleasant surprise. It is a crisp well-written comedy about falling in love with life. At least, life as it is sometime lived in Italy.

 

Our hero is not a lawyer but a washed out NFL Quarterback who escapes to a season in Italy after a disastrous high-profile game. He plays for the Parma Panthers, a team made up mostly of working men who play American Football because it brings them joy and because of the after game Pizza.

 

This young American opens himself to the possibilities offered by great food, wonderful wine, small cars and even trips to the opera. He discovers that food is more than just fuel, meals are as much about talking as they are about eating and that football can be about the playing and not about the money. He also falls in love with a beautiful woman - twice.

 

I love spending time in Italy - I bought this book while I was on vacation there - so the descriptions of the food, the people and their passions rang true for me. They are carefully observed and described with infectious affection.

 

I know nothing of American Football but this book gave me the flavour of a game that has become so much about the money in America but is still about guts and glory in Italy.

 

What appealed to me most about this book was the discovery by the young American that when you follow your passions your life becomes richer and passion starts to follow you.

 

This is the perfect pool-side read for your next Italian vacation.