Synopses & Reviews
Rick Dockery was the third-string quarterback for the Cleveland Browns. In the AFC Championship game against Denver, to the surprise and dismay of virtually everyone, Rick actually got into the game. With a 17-point lead and just minutes to go, Rick provided what was arguably the worst single performance in the history of the NFL. Overnight, he became a national laughingstock and, of course, was immediately cut by the Browns and shunned by all other teams.
But all Rick knows is football, and he insists that his agent, Arnie, find 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. Great, says Rick for which team?
The mighty Panthers of Parma, Italy.
Yes, Italians do play American football, to one degree or another, and the Parma Panthers desperately want a former NFL player any former NFL player at their helm. So Rick reluctantly agrees to play for the Panthers 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.
To say that Italy the land of opera, fine wines, extremely small cars, romance, and Football Americano holds a few surprises for Rick Dockery would be something of an understatement.
"Third-string Cleveland Browns quarterback Rick Dockery becomes the greatest goat ever by throwing three interceptions in the closing minutes of the AFC championship game. Fleeing vengeful fans, he finds refuge in the grungiest corner of professional football, the Italian National Football League as quarterback of the inept but full-of-heart Parma Panthers. What ensues is a winsome football fable, replete with team bonding and character-building as the underdog Panthers challenge the powerhouse Bergamo Lions for a shot at the Italian Superbowl. The book is also the author's love letter to Italy. Rick is first baffled and then enchanted by all things Italian-tiny cars! opera! benign corruption!-and through him Grisham (The Firm) instructs his readership in the art of gracious living, featuring sumptuous four-hour, umpteen-course meals. The writing sometimes lapses into travel-guide ('most Italian cities are sort of configured around a central square, called a piazza') and food porn ('the veal cutlets are beaten with a small bat, then dipped in eggs, fried in a skillet, and then baked in the oven with a mix of parmigiano cheese and stock until the cheese melts'), but it's invigorated by appealing characters and lively play-by-play. The result is a charming fish-out-of-water story." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Fans of John Grisham live for his legal thrillers, but now and then he serves up something unexpected. That's exactly what he does, with great success, in his new novel....This is a feel-good story, a tale of maturing and finding your way in the world, but it's not a book of predictable game plays." USA Today
"Grisham is a storyteller who keeps the narrative flowing at a swift pace. He also has a penchant for humorous dialogue....What could have been a painful exile for a disgraced American quarterback becomes a delightfully unexpected homecoming." Boston Globe
"[R]eads like part Frances Mayes' Under the Tuscan Sun, part Mario Batali culinary diary and part Fodor guidebook." Los Angeles Times
Grisham returns this fall with a comic novel about a one-time American football star who moves to Italy to play for the Parma Panthers, and finds himself entangled in a series of cultural misadventures.
About the Author
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.