Playing for Pizza by John Grisham

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Rick Dockery is the third-string quarterback for the Cleveland Browns. In the AFC Championship game, to the surprise and dismay of virtually everyone, Rick actually gets into the game. With a seventeen-point lead and just minutes to go, Rick provides what is arguably the worst single performance in the history of the NFL. Overnight, he becomes a national laughingstock—and is immediately cut by the Browns and shunned by all other teams.

But all Rick knows is football, and he insists that his agent find a team that needs him. Against enormous odds, Rick finally gets a job—as the starting quarterback for the Mighty Panthers . . . of Parma, Italy. The Parma Panthers desperately want a former NFL player—any former NFL player—at their helm. And now they’ve got Rick, who knows nothing about Parma (not even where it is) and doesn’t speak a word of Italian. To say that Italy—the land of fine wines, extremely small cars, and football americano—holds a few surprises for Rick Dockery would be something of an understatement.

BONUS: This edition includes an excerpt from John Grisham's The Litigators.

About John Grisham

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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, and The Broker) and all of them have become international bestsellers. The Innocent Man (October 2006) marks his first foray into non-fiction. 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.
Published March 9, 2010 by Dell. 322 pages
Genres: Sports & Outdoors, Literature & Fiction, Humor & Entertainment, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Romance. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Playing for Pizza

Publishers Weekly

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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 che...

Sep 24 2007 | Read Full Review of Playing for Pizza

Book Reporter

rather, it is Football Americano played in a country that is the hotbed of soccer, the game known as "football" everywhere but in North America.

Jan 18 2011 | Read Full Review of Playing for Pizza

Entertainment Weekly

John Grisham is drawn to the Old World's restorative powers in Playing for Pizza — think Under the Tuscan Sun for jocks — but his hero prefers American coeds abroad.

Oct 01 2007 | Read Full Review of Playing for Pizza

USA Today

Most of all, he's going to learn about the purest form of love for the game from his teammates, whose compensation pretty much boils down to beer and pizza.Playing for Pizza showcases Grisham's ability to fill page after page with blow-by-blow descriptions of passes, fumbles and tackles with a ch...

Oct 04 2007 | Read Full Review of Playing for Pizza

Gather Books

John Grisham's latest novel, Playing for Pizza, is the first book I've read in a matter of days in quite some time (not counting Make Way for Ducklings and other such works).

Jun 28 2008 | Read Full Review of Playing for Pizza

Gather Books

As Rick Dockery finds his NFL career crumbling before his eyes, his agent knows that he must find a new job for the quarterback.

Jan 17 2010 | Read Full Review of Playing for Pizza


Rick Dockery is a quarterback whose bumbling play dashes the Cleveland Browns' Super Bowl dreams and sets the city against him.

Oct 01 2007 | Read Full Review of Playing for Pizza

Jackson District Library

Yes, Italians do play American football, to one degree or another, and the Parma Panthers desperately want a former NFL player – any former NFL play – at their helm.

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