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Fever Pitch [Paperback]

Nick Hornby
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (74 customer reviews)

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Book Description

5 May 2005
A famous account of growing up to be a fanatical football supporter. Told through a series of match reports, FEVER PITCH has enjoyed enormous critical and commercial success since it was first published in 1992. It has helped to create a new kind ofsports writing, and established Hornby as one of the finest writers of his generation.

Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin; Export Ed edition (5 May 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140295577
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140295573
  • Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 11 x 18 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (74 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 916,519 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Nick Hornby was born in 1957, and is the author of six novels, High Fidelity, About a Boy, How To Be Good, A Long Way Down (shortlisted for the Whitbread Award)Slam and Juliet, Naked. He is also the author of Fever Pitch, a book on his life as a devoted supporter of Arsenal Football Club, and has edited the collection of short stories Speaking with the Angel. He has written a book about his favourite songs, 31 Songs, and his reading habits,The Complete Polysyllabic Spree. In 2009 he wrote the screenplay for the film An Education. Nick Hornby lives and works in Highbury, north London.

Product Description

Amazon Review

Fever Pitch is both an autobiography and a footballing bible rolled into one. Nick Hornby pinpoints 1968 as his formative year--the year he turned 11, the year his parents separated, and the year his father first took him to watch Arsenal play. The author quickly moved "way beyond fandom" into an extreme obsession that has dominated his life, loves, and relationships. His father had initially hoped that Saturday afternoon matches would draw the two closer together, but instead Hornby became completely besotted with the game at the expense of any conversation: "Football may have provided us with a new medium through which we could communicate, but that was not to say that we used it, or what we chose to say was necessarily positive." Girlfriends also played second fiddle to one ball and 11 men. He fantasises that even if a girlfriend "went into labour at an impossible moment" he would not be able to help out until after the final whistle. Fever Pitch is not a typical memoir--there are no chapters, just a series of match reports falling into three time frames (childhood, young adulthood, manhood). While watching the May 2, 1972, Reading v Arsenal match, it became embarrassingly obvious to the then 15-year-old that his white, suburban, middle-class roots made him a wimp with no sense of identity: "Yorkshire men, Lancastrians, Scots, the Irish, blacks, the rich, the poor, even Americans and Australians have something they can sit in pubs and bars and weep about." But a boy from Maidenhead could only dream of coming from a place with "its own tube station and West Indian community and terrible, insoluble social problems." Fever Pitch reveals the very special intricacies of British football, which readers new to the game will find astonishing, and which Hornby presents with remarkable humour and honesty--the "unique" chants sung at matches, the cold rain- soaked terraces, giant cans of warm beer, the trains known as football specials carrying fans to and from matches in prison-like conditions, bottles smashing on the tracks, thousands of police officers waiting in anticipation for the cargo of hooligans. The sport and one team in particular have crept into every aspect of Hornby's life--making him see the world through Arsenal-tinted spectacles. --Naomi Gesinger --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


Funny, wise and true (Roddy Doyle) --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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First Sentence
I fell in love with football as I was later to fall in love with women: suddenly, inexplicably, uncritically, giving no thought to the pain or disruption it would bring with it. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars So, I am not crazy! 18 Aug 1999
By A Customer
And I always thought that I am the only person who remembers his past as related to World Cups and Olympic games... Hornby's book is the very first in which I underlined key sentences for re-reading, so much do they describe my own sport spectator's life: Although I am not a specific club's fan (with the exception of, maybe, Rapid Wien of Austria), my obsession with watching sports events has recently brought me to the conclusion that major events in my own life only happen during or shortly after Football World Cups and Olympic games (1980, OlympG Moscow: finished high school; 1982, FootbWC Spain: I first met my wife; 1988, OlympG Seoul: I rented my first flat; 1990, FootbWC Italy: I got my first job; 1996, OlympG Atlanta: I decided to move from Austria to Luxembourg; 1998, FootbWC France: My first child was born...) One minor addendum, though: In chapter "Part of the Game - Arsenal v Southampton, 19.8.80", Hornby forgets to mention that this was Kevin Keegan's return to Britain, which may have contributed to the formation of the huge crowd in front of the North Bank entrance. (I must know, since this was the ONLY Arsenal game I ever attended... and I fully confirm Hornby's description of the pre-game situation.)
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Terrifyingly familiar, funny and moving 12 May 1999
By A Customer
When I read this the first time, parts of it were so spot on that I felt like I had written it myself. Hornby describes brilliantly what it was like to follow a football team in the days of thronging terraces, of the ever-present threat of violence, and of bad hair, and captures exactly how a game can come to mean so much to a vulnerable adolescent. Parts of the book have dated somewhat already (the long diatribe in favour of all-seater stadia is an argument long since won), but it is a constantly surprising and intelligent book that stands up to being re-read over and over again.
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Regardless of any literary merit, in terms of its effect on British society this book has to be considered one of the most important books published in recent years. It's hard to remember now that when Hornby was writing this book, football fans were considered to be little more than potential hooligans, or the 'belching sub-humanity' portrayed in Bill Bruford's book 'Among the Thugs'.
'Fever Pitch' made it possible for the vast majority of 'normal' people who watch football, to 'come out of the closet'. Without that, none of the huge changes that have taken place in the way the game is perceived and consumed (for good and bad) would have taken place.
But given all that, what is 'Fever Pith' actually like to read? It's a fine book, packed with accurate observations about not only football, but also life in general. No-one could possibly not relate to the young Hornby's first intimations of human mortality (on seeing the victim of a heart attack, immediately after a Crystal Palace game,) his consideration of the basic human need for quasi-religous rituals which one hopes will influence events totally out of one's control, or the terrible Parable of Gus Caeser. Hornby's articulate prose style, full of self-effacing humour, makes every page a delight to read.
I've heard it said that even people without any knowledge of or interest in football can enjoy this book. My own experience is, however, that this is not the case. Another problem for potential readers is that, with the passage of time, even football fans will find it difficult to remember many of the key events (particularly the momentous 1988/89 season) around which the book is based.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read 14 Aug 2005
I received this book from a friend as a birthday present, who chose it because of its subject knowing I was a big football fan. Perhaps this was a rather misguided choice, though, as although Fever Pitch is based around Hornby's childhood (and early manhood) experiences of football, it is so much more than a run-of-the-mill football book. Its beautifully crafted life experience stories are, admittedly, set around key Arsenal matches in the 1980s, but if this were to put of non-football fans it would truly be a shame. Unlike many authors, especially in this genre, Hornby has a gift of true communication - throughout the book one gets the feeling of being with him as he searches for the purpose of his life, and the position of his hobby-come-obsession within that.
Although for non-football fans the match descriptions may seem dull and unappealing, they make up only a small percentage of the book and are included in such a way as to be intrinsic to the storyline rather than as an added extra to appeal to the terraces. It is in crafting this into his personal life that Hornby achieves his real success, and creates what many believe to be the best football book ever.
But don't forget, this book isn't just about Arsenal, or even football, but about how a young Londoner grows up, and learns to live his own life. A heart-warming tale, not to be overlooked.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
An extremely intelligent, well-written and humorous description of the psyche of a football fan, the author. "Fever Pitch is an attempt to gain some kind of angle on my obsession." The obsession being Arsenal, or perhaps just the Arsenal ground, Highbury, as Hornby rarely attends away games. It is also an autobiographical romp from 1957-1991. Those who did not grow up in Britain during the 60s and 70s, or who are not familiar with football, or who are not interested in British society or football will probably (but not certainly) find this book hard to read and in many places boring. However, I think the book stands on its own feet as an investigation into a fan's obsession. The flashes of forthright honesty are as funny as Roseanne. Hornby is fascinated and frankly appalled by the selfishness and immaturity of his obsession, yet also mystified by it to the point of awe. "The truth is: for alarmingly large chunks of an average day, I am a moron" (page 2!) And towards the end: "Pete and I left around twelve, I guess, for a three p.m., Sunday afternoon kick-off, and got there just in time. It was an awful game, unspeakable, a nil-nil draw in freezing conditions�c and it was live on television, so we could have stayed at home. My powers of self-analysis fail me completely here; I don't know why we went. We just did." With such endearing writing, Hornby won me over. I also found his comments on the past, present and future of British (well OK, English) football illuminating - especially on hooliganism and disasters like Hillsborough. This was the first Nick Hornby book I read, and I definitely want to read more.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 15 hours ago by P B BOWKER
3.0 out of 5 stars Football football football football football
Yes, this book is really good. Yes, nick hornby is a great writer. Yes I do love football. But one can only take so much. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Robert Copland
5.0 out of 5 stars Captivating and funny
One of the best books I have ever read and -believe me- I've read many in my life. It deals with a fan's life, but it is about human beings in general. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Riccardo
1.0 out of 5 stars Right book at the Right time
As memory serves me, this book came out around the same time that Sky and the Premier League catapulted football into the mainstream. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Anglo
4.0 out of 5 stars good
Interesting and I learnt new facts about the premier league. Recommend it for football lovers (not if you don't like arsenal)
Published 1 month ago by Mrs. A. Wray
5.0 out of 5 stars Fever Pitch
As an ex football player and avid fan I found this a really nostalgic read. Have read more of Nick Hornby's books as a result and found them amusing and hard to put down
Published 3 months ago by macca
5.0 out of 5 stars An interesting point of view about football
I am a football fan and a Nick Hornby fan so I was very curious to read this book. Football fan surely love it but I think also people who aren't should read it! Read more
Published 5 months ago by Faffy1980
4.0 out of 5 stars very nice story
i wish the cover was a little harder. very nice story, completes perfectly with the movie and gives too much more!!!
Published 6 months ago by konstantinos
5.0 out of 5 stars Fun book and a good read
Just received my copy and really enjoyed what I have read so far. You don't have to be a football fan to enjoy this book as it it deals with a lot more than just the game, highly... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Shaun Johnston
2.0 out of 5 stars Yawn
I finally got round to buying this book, after many years of hearing about it, I wish'd I'd carried on waiting!
Published 12 months ago by Brooksey
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