Book Review: Friday Night Lights: A Town, a Team, and a Dream by H.G. Bissinger

Friday Night Lights: A Town, a Team, and a Dream

More Tim Riggins please!

More Tim Riggins please!

I did the whole of Friday Night Lights thing backwards.

Show first, movie second, then finally got around to the book. No idea what took me so long.

Like the series, Texas high school football is used as a catalyst to discuss much more important and global issues – economic woes, education systems, racism, the hunt for ways to simply BE KNOWN.

The glaring racism highlighted in the book is sadly only one example of towns all across the country, comfortable with the use of the word “nigger” to the point that others barely flinched when it was used. It’s nauseating, really, how deep-seeded and strong-willed the seeds of racism run in this country, to the point where racists are practically proud to pass that down to their kids. It gross. It’s disgusting. It’s a story all too familiar, in too many towns, in too many homes.

But the book….it’s non-fiction so of course it falls way short of the emotional connections one makes when watching a fictional tv show for five seasons. Overall, the book is just sad. A one track town (Football! Football! Football!) that has no idea what to do with these kids when they’re booted from the fast moving, first class train cars after their final seasons as Permian Panthers.

Even worse, no one cares.

It’s all part of the machine: pick ’em out, build ’em up, throw ’em away when you’re done.

Well written, well researched, and a good read all in all, but not one you’ll want to pick up when you’re looking for something uplifting.

Four stars because it’s so well written. The author clearly has a talent that is presented well on the page, and his empathy for the players – seemingly one of few people that see how used and spit out they are by the machine that is high school football in Texas – is more than evident.

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