The 25th anniversary edition of the number-one New York Times best seller and Sports Illustrated's best football book of all time, with a new afterword by the author
Return once again to the timeless account of the Permian Panthers of Odessa - the winningest high school football team in Texas history.
Socially and racially divided, Odessa isn't known to be a place big on dreams, but every Friday night from September to December, when the Panthers play football, dreams can come true. With frankness and compassion, H. G. Bissinger unforgettably captures a season in the life of Odessa and shows how single-minded devotion to the team shapes the community and inspires - and sometimes shatters - the teenagers who wear the Panthers' uniforms.
This book brought back a lot of memories for me. High school football can be the moment of glory for many out there, then reflected upon as a chapter in life that one will spend the majority of his life with his best days behind him.
This book isn't completely focused on the Permian program itself, but also shows how life was in 1980's Odessa Texas. It covers the town history, racial tensions, and oil boom/bust periods. But above it all, it reveals a town's pride for its high school football team that shines through—pride that is fundamental to its nature, to its identity. These people depend on high school football to survive. More than just an escape from the financial ruin that has set in since the Texas oil bust, high school football is the only thing that matters. They live vicariously through these teenagers, these children, as if they are somehow their only connection to anything good or right in the world. Bissinger describes how as the seniors finished their final games, the shock of no longer being relevant sets in, and they turn into just another fan afterwards.
I found myself getting caught up in it: the excitement, the rush, the adrenaline of the game. It’s dangerous. It’s dangerous to glamorize something that should really only represent a small part of someone’s life, but it was easy to understand how one could get wrapped up in it. That's a concept a lot of former players can relate to.
Overall: I liked this book. Although at times I thought the history of the town portions were too much of a page filler rather than useful information. The main problem is that this book is about so many things - the history of the town, the lives of the people in it, and obviously, football. If you've got an interest in Texas and football, this is a good place to start. Heck, you might even get an itch to go see a high school football game yourself afterwards.
The narrator Tom Stechschulte is a personal favorite of mine, and he did a great job on this book.
If this review helped you, please click the button below...thanks.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
What made the experience of listening to Friday Night Lights the most enjoyable?
More of a sociological treatise than a football book, it still holds up well after almost thirty years. It examines what happens when a Texas town (Odessa) emphasizes football over academics. The results are not surprising but the story follows several players of different races and that makes up the bulk of the story.
Who was your favorite character and why?
Liked all of the student/football players equally well. What happens to each is fascinating.
Which character – as performed by Tom Stechschulte – was your favorite?
Did not have one. The narration was fine but I docked one star because the narrator sometimes sounded like he had a cold.
Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?
Silly question but it was a riveting listen.
Any additional comments?
I recommend this audiobook highly!
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
Talk about commitment. The author quit his job in the north east and moved to Odessa, Texas for a full year to do his research. He would have been hard pressed to pick a better year, with a robust set of players with talent and personality which helped bring the book to life. I grew up and played football within a decade of the 1988 season he picked. His descriptions of what high school football is to Texas is very eloquently done. He really dives into the lives of his 6 main characters. The book also does a great job of describing the history of the area, of oil, business and the politics of West Texas. His update of the 6 key players he covered 25 years later really brings a nice end to the story. The series is good, the movie is great, but the book bests them both. I loved the voice on the audio version. Found myself listening to the ends of chapters in my garage all the time.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
After listening to Three Nights in August by the same author and reading various reviews of Friday Night Lights in print, I was puzzled why there was not an audiobook. Perhaps the author was waiting for the 25th anniversary edition to come out. Whatever the reason, it was well worth the wait.
fantastic story and writing. the narrator makes every individuals voice sound like a slack jawed yokel.
The book itself is a singular masterpiece of shoe-leather sports and culture journalism, and the narration, performed with passion and abandon (even if best digested with a dose of period-piece license), makes this an even more pleasing and unforgettable read. I loved every detail and every turn of phrase. Read it.
it addresses the absolute bigotry and racism that the movie neglected. of course I understand why the movie would not have went too deep into the huge discrepancies afflicting blacks. With that being said, this book REALLY has me wanting to follow in the authors footsteps and construct a documentary. This is, both, an entertaining read and an informative piece. I loved it
Sad. Honest. Enthralling. Poignant story about the sad reality when HS football is when one peaks. The thought that the best time of one's life could happen in HS is depressing.
I grew up in Texas and went to high school about the same time as this book. It may seem foreign or unbelievable to many, but this book accurately captures the spirit and religion that is Texas high school football.
1 of 2 people found this review helpful
What disappointed you about Friday Night Lights?
Take a yankee, place him in Texas and then watch him try to capture the Texan way of life. Lame attempt at best. Northerners just don't get it.
What do you think your next listen will be?
Nothing written by H.G. Bissinger
Would you be willing to try another one of Tom Stechschulte’s performances?
Maybe, if it isn't based on a Texas twang.
If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Friday Night Lights?
All the speculative information that was presented as fact.
Any additional comments?
When I purchased this, I did so thinking finally I would get around to reading one of the best sports books ever written. Many television and radio sports personalities gush over this story. As an avid reader of many different genres, I must warn everyone that this is garbage. I'm reminded of a few personal experiences with people who have never read...Well when they finally stumble on a book, any book, upon completion they commence to telling their friends "Man this is the greatest book I've ever read...you HAVE to read this!..." and then you realize they think its the best book ever, because they don't know any better.
1 of 12 people found this review helpful