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FEVER PITCH Paperback – 1 Jan 2010

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Amazon.com: 166 reviews
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
A must read for sports fans, not just soccer (footy) fans 19 Aug 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This is without a doubt the best book on football (soccer) that I have ever read. It is also the best book dealing with sports that I have ever read. It describes like no other book I have read what it means to be a fan.
Although this book follows the life of an Arsenal supporter, anyone can read it, because Hornby's experiences are no different than those of any committed, "obsessed" football fan. I am a Leeds supporter, and much of what Hornby said described what I feel, so perfectly. I especially liked the part when he went on about wanting to switch allegiances if he could, but found out that he couldn't because he was too emotionally tied to Arsenal. No matter how poorly they played, or how frustrated they made him feel, he still supported the club. I've felt the same way about Leeds on many an occasion.
A great book about life, not just about football.
20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
Beware What This Book Might Do To You 9 Aug 2002
By oh_pete - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I've been meaning to write a review of this book for a long time, but since Nick Hornby reawakened in me many of my childhood sports fan obsessions when I read it for the first time in 1999, I've been too busy. Not only did "Fever Pitch" remind me how irrationally and how much I loved my own hometown team (the heartbreaking Boston Red Sox) but he turned me into a fan of English football and his own Arsenal Gunners to the point where I follow them daily on ESPN's soccernet, LISTEN (!?) to them on internet radio broadcasts and have even gone to two games in London over the past two years. It's sick really, and I suppose it's not the kind of thing Hornby would have wanted when he wrote this quintessential memoir of growing up a soccer fan in England, but I've enjoyed it
"Fever Pitch" is an obsessive's tale as much as it is a fan's story, and so should appeal to the same wide audience that enjoys his excellent novels (It was my love for "High Fidelity" that sent me straight to this book). It is a memoir of surprising depth considering how it is organized only by the dates of soccer matches between 1968 and 1991, and it makes perfect sense that Hornby, or any true fan, should see the rest of his life (parents' divorce, his own education, romantic and career trouble) primarily as it relates to the team he spends so much time, money and psychic energy on.
The irony, for me, was finding out after I read "Fever Pitch" for the first time that Arsenal was one of the top teams of the last decade in England, so Hornby at least gets to feel the joy that we Red Sox fans are still waiting for. Sure, we're ecstatic the Pats won the Super Bowl, but our lives will change forever when Boston brings home the World Series. But after "Fever Pitch," I'll remember to laugh like the rest of the world laughs when American sports leagues crown their title-holders "world" champions.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
passion of england, brought to life 14 Jan 2000
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
In this book is brought to life the passion felt by every true english football (soccer for Americans)fan. I can relate to Hornsby being an avid supporter of second division team Oldham Athletic. Five years ago we were in the premiership and beating Man Utd; one of our local rivals, one nil at Wembley in the F.A Cup semi-final, last year we barely avoided relegation. I am part of the 5,000 faithful who turn up every week in the usual rain, hopeful that the good days will return (If they do I hope the 20,000 Man Utd glory hunters don't return also). Although being a Gunner, Hornsbys' days of pain are pretty much over, people around the world should take the opportunity to see how much a part of english lives football really is. Sticking with your team through the lowest of the lows, and the feeling you get from the highs. You could say its only a game, but to the english its a way of life, we have an innate love. This is conveyed in Hornsbys' book, and after reading it, you can begin to understand just how gutted and depressed every english person alive felt after Euro '96 and World Cup '98. Come on America, you may love your sports, but no-one will love a sport more than the english love football;born and bred from our land.
24 of 29 people found the following review helpful
Don't go in expecting a Hornbyesque book 27 Jun 2002
By Sibelius - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Thanks to the once in every four year buzz I get when the World Cup is taking place I thought that it was an appropriate time to begin reading the only Hornby book that I hadn't yet cracked which incidentally is his autobiography and a loving testament to the game of football. With those factors in mind, I figured I couldn't go wrong with this one but sadly, for the first time, I was a bit let down by one of Hornby's books.
My main problem with this book stems from the fact that I missed out on approx. 30% of the context because I didn't know the people (players and coaches), places and teams that he spends a great deal of time espousing on. This book is written with the assumption that the reader is steeped in all the lore, historical trivia and nuance of British football and for those with limited knowledge, well I suppose they'll find themselves grasping at times trying to catch up with Hornby's detailed play-by-play enactments of memorable goals and on field blunders. Another thing - this is Hornby's first book and it shows. For those readers accustomed to his flowing, easy to digest prose in future works ('High Fidelity,' 'About a Boy,' 'How to be Good') you might be a bit surprised at how clunky his words form here. Yes, there are some very Hornbyesque passages and moments but for the most part it can be choppy reading at times but is interesting in the framework of mind knowing how his future works will evolve into crystalline works of literary brilliance.
On the positive note, this book will certainly strike a chord for every hardcore sports fanatic out there. Hornby lovingly touches on the idiosyncracies that every true 'fan' experiences from: Superstitious ritual, disdain for the casual and/or bandwagon fan, the psyche of those who faithfully follow bad teams, etc. Also, you'll find the occassional gem on the beauty of Football/Soccer as a pure sport that makes reading through this 247 page book ultimately worthwhile.
16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
The inspiration behind 'High Fidelity' and 'About a Boy' 19 Mar 2000
By Andy Orrock - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
With 'High Fidelity' opening in theatres soon (supposedly at the end of March 2000), the buzz from Nick Hornby's work will reach a fever pitch. Want to know where Hornby finds the inspiration and raw material to craft the exquisitely detailed and accurate pictures of male angst such as Rob Fleming ('High Fidelity') or Will Freeman ('About a Boy')? Look no further than the life of Hornby himself.
On the surface, 'Fever Pitch' follows Hornby's life-long obession with Arsenal, the English Premier league team he dutifully follows through good times and bad. But this is more than a story about football (or soccer, if you will). It's also the story of a complex person struggling to make things right with his family, the various woman that pass through his life, and his career.
Make no mistake: the brilliant writer that created Rob Fleming did not appear overnight. Like Rob, Hornby struggled with his passions for years before achieving his breakthrough with 'Fever Pitch.' A previous reviewer notes that this is a biography that does not work because of the author's lack of an 'interesting life.' I disagree - the reason Rob Fleming connects with so many readers (see the 'High Fidelity' customer review section for the raptorous comments from men and women alike) is because of his normalcy and our shock at seeing so many of our own thoughts crystallized so perfectly on the page.
The same holds true for 'Fever Pitch,' but with the caveat that a lot of what you read here is distilled through the experience of English football.
My recommendation: if you're a football/soccer fanatic, this is a book you simply must read and keep in your collection, regardless of whether you've read either of Hornby's other works. If don't know *anything* about the game and are not too keen to learn, read this book only after you've read 'High Fidelity' and 'About a Boy.' Then sit back and marvel at the connections between the trilogy of characters that are Hornby, Fleming, and Freeman.
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