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Playing for Pizza [Paperback]

John Grisham
2.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (112 customer reviews)
RRP: 7.99
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Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle Edition 3.49  
Hardcover, Large Print 18.69  
Paperback 5.85  
Paperback, 26 May 2011 6.39  
Audio, CD, Audiobook, Unabridged 12.10  
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Book Description

26 May 2011

With a 17-point lead and just minutes to go, Rick Dockery provided what was arguably the worst single performance in the history of the NFL. Overnight, he became a national laughing stock and, of course, was immediately dropped by the Browns and shunned by all other teams.

But all Rick knows is football, and he insists that his agent, Arnie, finds a team that needs him. Against enormous odds, Arnie finally locates just such a team and informs Rick that, miraculously, he can in fact now be a starting quarterback - for the mighty Panthers of Parma, Italy.

Rick reluctantly agrees to play for them - at least until a better offer comes along - and heads off to Italy. He knows nothing about Parma (not even where it is), has never been to Europe, and doesn't speak or understand a word of Italian.

The land of opera, fine wines, extremely small cars, romance and football americano certainly holds a few surprises for Rick Dockery.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Arrow (26 May 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099557266
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099557265
  • Product Dimensions: 2.3 x 13 x 19.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (112 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 130,486 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Long before his name became synonymous with the modern legal thriller, he was working 60-70 hours a week at a small Southaven, Mississippi, law practice, squeezing in time before going to the office and during courtroom recesses to work on his hobby--writing his first novel.

Born on February 8, 1955 in Jonesboro, Arkansas, to a construction worker and a homemaker, John Grisham as a child dreamed of being a professional baseball player. Realizing he didn't have the right stuff for a pro career, he shifted gears and majored in accounting at Mississippi State University. After graduating from law school at Ole Miss in 1981, he went on to practice law for nearly a decade in Southaven, specializing in criminal defense and personal injury litigation. In 1983, he was elected to the state House of Representatives and served until 1990.

One day at the DeSoto County courthouse, Grisham overheard the harrowing testimony of a twelve-year-old rape victim and was inspired to start a novel exploring what would have happened if the girl's father had murdered her assailants. Getting up at 5 a.m. every day to get in several hours of writing time before heading off to work, Grisham spent three years on A Time to Kill and finished it in 1987. Initially rejected by many publishers, it was eventually bought by Wynwood Press, who gave it a modest 5,000 copy printing and published it in June 1988.

That might have put an end to Grisham's hobby. However, he had already begun his next book, and it would quickly turn that hobby into a new full-time career--and spark one of publishing's greatest success stories. The day after Grisham completed A Time to Kill, he began work on another novel, the story of a hotshot young attorney lured to an apparently perfect law firm that was not what it appeared. When he sold the film rights to The Firm to Paramount Pictures for $600,000, Grisham suddenly became a hot property among publishers, and book rights were bought by Doubleday. Spending 47 weeks on The New York Times bestseller list, The Firm became the bestselling novel of 1991.

The successes of The Pelican Brief, which hit number one on the New York Times bestseller list, and The Client, which debuted at number one, confirmed Grisham's reputation as the master of the legal thriller. Grisham's success even renewed interest in A Time to Kill, which was republished in hardcover by Doubleday and then in paperback by Dell. This time around, it was a bestseller.

Since first publishing A Time to Kill in 1988, Grisham has written one novel a year (his other books are The Firm, The Pelican Brief, The Client, The Chamber, The Rainmaker, The Runaway Jury, The Partner, The Street Lawyer, The Testament, The Brethren, A Painted House, Skipping Christmas, The Summons, The King of Torts, Bleachers, The Last Juror, The Broker, Playing for Pizza, The Appeal, and The Associate) and all of them have become international bestsellers. There are currently over 250 million John Grisham books in print worldwide, which have been translated into 29 languages. Nine of his novels have been turned into films (The Firm, The Pelican Brief, The Client, A Time to Kill, The Rainmaker, The Chamber, A Painted House, The Runaway Jury, and Skipping Christmas), as was an original screenplay, The Gingerbread Man. The Innocent Man (October 2006) marked his first foray into non-fiction, and Ford County (November 2009) was his first short story collection.

Grisham lives with his wife Renee and their two children Ty and Shea. The family splits their time between their Victorian home on a farm in Mississippi and a plantation near Charlottesville, VA.

Grisham took time off from writing for several months in 1996 to return, after a five-year hiatus, to the courtroom. He was honoring a commitment made before he had retired from the law to become a full-time writer: representing the family of a railroad brakeman killed when he was pinned between two cars. Preparing his case with the same passion and dedication as his books' protagonists, Grisham successfully argued his clients' case, earning them a jury award of $683,500--the biggest verdict of his career.

When he's not writing, Grisham devotes time to charitable causes, including most recently his Rebuild The Coast Fund, which raised 8.8 million dollars for Gulf Coast relief in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. He also keeps up with his greatest passion: baseball. The man who dreamed of being a professional baseball player now serves as the local Little League commissioner. The six ballfields he built on his property have played host to over 350 kids on 26 Little League teams.

Product Description


"Grisham comes into his own. The man knows how to crank up the tension, we are soon on the edge of our seats. Read this book, enjoy it." (Daily Express)

"Playing for Pizza is well plotted and shows Grisham's gift for coming up with twists and appealing minor characters." (Sunday Times)

"Playing for Pizza is a lyrical page-turner and a gasp-inducing reminder of the scope of this man's genius with the written word. Grisham is something of a Da Vinci with words. He can blow your brains out with the power of truth or paint pictures that magically reveal the reality beneath. This is a smooth, satisfying and delightful read." (Sunday Express)

"Grisham's writing takes on an energy and precision in this amiable novel" (TLS)

Book Description


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Grisham - but different 18 Dec 2010
Format:Kindle Edition
Don't buy this book if you're looking for a legal thriller as you may well be disappointed. I'm a keen Grisham fan and bought the book anyway and really enjoyed the book for what it is: a feel good story about an American moving to Italy and discovering another way of life. Take the book for what it is and enjoy.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars For American Football fans! 19 Nov 2007
Grisham steps away from the legal world to write about the tribulations of American Football player Rick Dockery and his enforced move to Palma, Italy to play for local team `The Panthers'. Although it takes a while for him to adjust, Rick soon falls in love with the locals and shares their lust for food, architecture and most of all, football.

Although this book doesn't make a huge amount of sense if you don't understand the intricacies of the Superbowl, the intricate descriptions of the gastronomic delights and architecture will warm even the frostiest of readers. There's also quite a nice love story woven into the book, which juxtaposes nicely with the match play.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I'd play for pizza! 11 Mar 2008
By C. Dee
As with the other reviews this isn't your typical John Grisham book. Yet, I thoroughly enjoyed it. So much I was disappointed when I had finished reading it! The idea of this book is based upon a washed up American footballer,giving his career a go in Italy. However, this doesn't mean you have to be interested in American Football to like it. Grisham, sets the scenes brilliantly, and makes you think you are actually in Parma, and want to be Italian. It really gives you a feel for what living in another culture is like,, the American Football is there because it's something that is an unusual and unexpected thing in this part of the world! Great stuff, a good change from the court room battles of previous novels.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Getting lazy? 4 July 2008
I've enjoyed a number of Mr Grisham's books. This, however, is not one of them. It's a serviceable little thing - solid plot, some local colour and a saccharine ambience --- but Oh how thin compared to earlier titles! There is just no meat. My guess is that this might have made a little novella or a screen-play (perhaps it was)....but the brain is never tested or, worse still, stimulated. The trouble with a brand like Mr G's is that he has to pump a new title out every few weeks just to keep the machine moving....he might remember that good brands takes years to build and seconds to lose. His is, on the basis of this title, teetering on the brink.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars SOMETHING DIFFERENT..... 25 Sep 2007
I really enjoyed this book it is not the typical Grisham thriller Which really do not interest me any more. This the story of Pro quarterback Rick Dockery who has become the laughing stock of the NFL. The team his agent can find him is an Italian team that plays in a European league. This is a fish out of water story, Rick Has never been to Europe and knows nothing about Italy and all he knows about Italians is from watching American gangster movies. This of course makes from some cute and funny situations. While not a thriller the book does have some surprising twists. Good entertaining, feel good read! For aother fish out of water story I highly recommend "Across the High Lonesome!" it will have you laughing and crying!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Light, frothy and thoroughly enjoyable 30 Jun 2009
I was very surprised that this book has so many negative reviews. I found it very enjoyable and amusing, and I don't even like American football. The book did a good job of capturing the Italian culture and mentality, like their obsession with Italian food and sport. It gently poked fun at both American and Italian stereotypes and the differences between the two nations. Even the football game chapters were easy to read (and I know nothing about the rules of the game).

I agree, it is NOT the subject you's associate John Grisham with. If you were looking for an intense Grisham courtroom drama then you would be disappointed. But then, surely the title alone is a give-away that this story isn't based in a courtroom? It's just a shame that this book is getting so many negative reviews for not being 'mainsteam Grisham', when it never aimed to be that.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not everyone will like it - but I did 13 Jun 2008
I like Grisham's writing style.
I like American Football
I like 'Rocky' type sports comeback tales.
I like Italian food, wine and culture.
So I really enjoyed this book!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Easy Read, Not your usual Grisham 9 Sep 2008
Having read every Grisham book, every now and again you get something different. This is one such instance. Yes, JG has build his name and reputation on courtroom/legal issues and tales of the deep south but when you can tell a story like JG, I think its great that he deviates from his normal path from time to time. Skipping Christmas and Bleachers were other examples.
This book is quite simply an easy read. A nice story in a nice setting. JG manages to describe the sumptious food and the Italian passion for the game like no other. I really enjoyed it. Whilst his other stuff is page turning with readers wanting to know the next twist in the plot, this is still a page turner because its so well written and we want to know how sucessful the main character is going to be in his new life. In summary a good read, perfect for holidays.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Sports Fiction at its best!
I wrote and published Tight Spiral, before reading this novel. I now have a comparison. There are only few sports fiction novels that offer a perfect balance between the sport and... Read more
Published 2 days ago by Michael Gill
4.0 out of 5 stars Good if you understand American Football
Not his usual legal based story but readable none the less. One should understand the finer points of American Football!
Published 1 month ago by jenny mollison
5.0 out of 5 stars Very refreshing
Nice to have something different from grisham. Good story and very readable. American football from a unique angle thank you .
Published 3 months ago by maggie
1.0 out of 5 stars Grisham finished for me . Might as well have been written in Chinese ....
For me it was a pizza too far and a waste of money. I certainly will not risk buying Grisham again.
Published 6 months ago by Bryan Stopher
4.0 out of 5 stars Not a typical John Grisham book but still enjoyable
I have to admit I'm not a fan of American Football and I don't really have much interest in ever visiting Italy, so although I'm a big John Grisham fan I wasn't expecting much from... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Charles Fudgemuffin
3.0 out of 5 stars Easy Read
John Grisham appears to be running out of ideas for his trademark blockbuster legal thrillers. He seems mired in the same repetitive themes: mass tort cases and honest, small-town,... Read more
Published 9 months ago by pierre
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant
Great book,really good with both regarding American football & Italian life in general.Good story with these factors as meain componants as well.
Published 14 months ago by nico joubert
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it
My husband said it was a great read, and wants to read more from this author so will be buying more in the future.
Published 17 months ago by Mrs. Marion F. Cozens
4.0 out of 5 stars Better than his crime novels
I've never cared for Grisham's crime novels, with their lawyer heroes and villains, and was surprised to find he had extended his territory with this little book about a failed... Read more
Published 17 months ago by John Fitzpatrick
5.0 out of 5 stars Not his usual
Not his usual genre but most enjoyable nonetheless. As with most Grisham books found it hard to put down. Read more
Published 18 months ago by melvyn morton
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