18 of 22 people found the following review helpful
One of the most 'important' books published in the 1990's,
By A Customer
This review is from: Fever Pitch (Paperback)
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. Finally, as someone who is not an Arsenal fan, I found Hornby's continual putting-down of his team ("I must be mad to support this lot" etc.) a little annoying. 95% of football fans would give almost anything for their team to be as successful as Arsenal.
Notwithstanding these points, I cannot recommend this book more highly. As the book says, football fans are not emotionally-retarded idiots. In their own way, they understand certain essential truths and experience emotions the rest of the world can have no idea of.