Friday Night Lights: A Town, a Team, and a Dream (25th Anniversary Edition)

Friday Night Lights: A Town, a Team, and a Dream (25th Anniversary Edition)

by H. G. Bissinger

Paperback(25th Anniversary Edition)

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The 25th anniversary edition of the #1 New York Times bestseller 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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780306824203
Publisher: Da Capo Press
Publication date: 08/11/2015
Edition description: 25th Anniversary Edition
Pages: 432
Sales rank: 19,897
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.30(d)
Lexile: 1220L (what's this?)

About the Author

H. G. "Buzz" Bissinger is the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of five books, including the New York Times bestsellers Three Nights in August and Friday Night Lights, the classic that inspired the acclaimed movie and television series. He is a longtime contributing editor for Vanity Fair and has written for the New York Times, the New Republic, the Daily Beast, and many other publications. He divides his time between homes in Philadelphia and the Pacific Northwest.

Date of Birth:

November 1, 1954

Place of Birth:

New York, New York


B.A., University of Pennsylvania, 1976; Nieman Fellow, Harvard University, 1985-1986

Read an Excerpt

Friday Night Lights

By H. G. Bissinger

Da Capo Press

Copyright © 2003 H. G. Bissinger
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0306812827

Chapter One


In the beginning, on a dog-day Monday in the middle of August when the West Texas heat congealed in the sky, there were only the stirrings of dreams. It was the very first official day of practice and it marked the start of a new team, a new year, a new season, with a new rallying cry scribbled madly in the backs of yearbooks and on the rear windows of cars: Goin' to State in Eighty-Eight!

It was a little after six in the morning when the coaches started trickling into the Permian High School field house. The streets of Odessa were empty, with no signs of life except the perpetual glare of the convenience store lights on one corner after another. The K mart was closed, of course, and so was the Wal-Mart. But inside the field house, a squat structure behind the main school building, there was only the delicious anticipation of starting anew. On each of the coaches' desks lay caps with bills that were still stiff and sweat bands that didn't contain the hot stain of sweat, with the word PERMIAN emblazoned across the front in pearly thread. From one of the coaches came the shrill blow of a whistle, followed by the gleeful cry of "Let's go, men!" There was the smell of furniture polish; the dust and dirt of the past season were forever wiped away.

About an hour later the players arrived. It was time to get under way.

"Welcome, guys" were the words Coach Gary Gaines used to begin the 1988 season, and fifty-five boys dressed in identical gray shirts and gray shorts, sitting on identical wooden benches, stared into his eyes. They listened, or at least tried to. Winning a state championship. Making All-State and gaining a place on the Permian Wall of Fame. Going off after the season to Nebraska, or Arkansas, or Texas. Whatever they fantasized about, it all seemed possible that day.

Gaines's quiet words washed over the room, and in hundreds of other Texas towns celebrating the start of football practice that August day there were similar sounds of intimacy and welcome, to the eastern edge of the state in Marshall, to the northern edge in Wichita Falls, to the southern edge in McAllen, to the western edge in El Paso. They were Gaines's words, but they could have come from any high school coach renewing the ritual of sport, the ritual of high school football.

"There's twelve hundred boys in Permian High School. You divide that by three and there's four hundred in every class. You guys are a very special breed. There are guys back there that are every bit as good as you are. But they were not able to stick it out for whatever reason. Football's not for everybody. But you guys are special. "We want you all to carry the torch in the eighty-eight season. It's got to mean somethin' really special to you. You guys have dreamt about this for many years, to be a part of this team, some of you since you were knee-high. Work hard, guys, and pay the price. Be proud you're a part of this program. Keep up the tradition that was started many years ago."

That tradition was enshrined on a wall of the field house, where virtually every player who had made All-State during the past twenty-nine years was carefully immortalized within the dimensions of a four-by-six-inch picture frame. It was enshrined in the proclamation from the city council that hung on a bulletin board, honoring one of Permian's state championship teams. It was enshrined in the black carpet, and the black-and-white cabinets, and the black rug in the shape of a panther. It was enshrined in the county library, where the 235-page history that had been written about Permian football was more detailed than any of the histories about the town itself.

Of all the legends of Odessa, that of high school football was the most enduring. It had a deep and abiding sense of place and history, so unlike the town, where not even the origin of the name itself could be vouched for with any confidence.

Odessa ...

There had been no reason for its original existence. It owed its beginnings to a fine blend of Yankee ingenuity and hucksterism, its selling the first primordial example of the Home Shopping Network.

It was invented in the 1880s by a group of men from Zanesville, Ohio, who saw a great opportunity to make money if only they could figure out some way to get people there, to somehow induce them into thinking that the land bore bountiful secrets, this gaping land that filled the heart with far more sorrow than it ever did encouragement, stretching without a curve except for the undulating trough off the caprock where the once-great herds of buffalo had grazed for water. What Odessa lacked, and one look informed the most charitable eye that it lacked a fantastic amount, the speculators from Ohio would make up for on the strength of their own imagination. With fourteen thousand arid acres to sell, truth in advertising was not something to dwell over.

The Zanesville syndicate looked at all the best natural qualities of the country and decided to attribute them to Odessa whether they were there or not. Through brochures and pamphlets it conjured up a place with weather as wonderful as Southern California's and soil as fertile as that of the finest acre of farmland in Kansas or Iowa.

"Splendid cities will spring up all along the railroads that traverse the plains, and immense fortunes will be made there in a few years, in land business ventures, you will see the most remarkable emigration to that section that has occurred since the days when the discovery of gold sent wealth-seekers by thousands into Colorado," Henry Thatcher boldly forecast in the Chillicothe Leader in 1886.

If that wasn't enough to make someone leave southern Ohio, Odessa was also promoted as a Utopian health spa with a $12,000 college and a public library, and a ban on alcohol. Those suffering from consumption, bronchitis, malaria, kidney, bladder, or prostate problems, asthma, or rheumatism would be welcomed with open arms, according to a promotional pamphlet.

Those who were failures, near death, didn't like working, bad with money, or cheap politicians were specifically not welcome, the same pamphlet said. The statement appeared to exclude many of the people who might have been interested in such a place.

The great Odessa land auction took place on May 19, 1886. The Zanesville boys, careful to the last drop, actually held it 350 miles to the east, in Dallas. Historical accounts of Odessa do not accurately indicate how many settlers bought lots. But about ten families, German Methodists from western Pennsylvania around Pittsburgh, hoping to realize the Utopian community so grandly talked about, did arrive.

They tried to fit in with the ranchers and cowboys who were already there, but it was not a good match. The Methodists found the ranchers and the cowboys beyond saving. The ranchers and the cowboys found that the Methodists did nothing but yell at them all the time.

As part of its commitment, the syndicate went ahead and built a college for the Methodists. It was constructed around 1889 but burned mysteriously three years later. Some said the college was set afire by cowboys who disliked being told by the Methodists that they could not drink, particularly in a place that cried out daily for alcohol. Others said it was burned by a contingent of jealous citizens from Midland because the Odessa college was competing with a similar institution that the sister city had built. Finally, there were those who said the college was burned down simply because it was something the damn Yankees had built the natives of the city when no one had asked for it. Given the later attitudes of Odessa, all these theories are probably true. A hospital was also built, but most settlers ignored it and instead relied on such tried-and-true home remedies as cactus juice and a wrap of cabbage leaves for the chills, a plaster made out of fresh cow manure for sprains, and buzzard grease for measles.

Contrary to all the boasts of the land's fertility, it was virtually impossible to farm anything because of the difficulty of getting water. Instead, Odessa eked out a living from the livestock trade, all dreams of Utopia gone forever when the town's first sheriff, Elias Dawson, decided that the ban on alcohol constituted cruel and unusual punishment and became the proprietor, along with his brother, of the town's first saloon.

The first murder in Odessa occurred late in the nineteenth century when a cowboy rode into a water-drilling camp one afternoon and demanded something to eat from the cook. The cook, described as a "chinaman," refused, so the cowboy promptly shot him. He was taken to San Angelo and put on trial, but the judge freed him on the grounds that there were no laws on the books making it illegal to kill a Chinaman.

For more casual entertainment, a couple of cowboys gathered up all the cats they could find one day, tied sacks of dried beans to their tails, and then set them loose downtown to scare the daylights out of the horses and the citizens milling about. In later times it was hard not to get caught up in the frivolity of those great practical jokers, the Wilson brothers, whose professional standing as doctors didn't mean they were above grabbing unsuspecting townsfolk into the barbershop and shaving their heads.

By 1900, Odessa had only 381 residents. By 1910 the population had increased to 1,178. Most of those inhabitants depended on ranching, but various droughts made survival almost impossible because of the lack of grazing land for cattle. The ranchers became so poor they could not afford to buy feed, and many cattle were just rounded up and shot to death so the stronger ones could have what little grass was left.

Nothing about living in Odessa was easy. Finding a scrubby tree that could barely serve as a Christmas tree took two days. Even dealings with cattle rustlers and horse thieves had to be compromised; they were shot instead of hanged because there weren't any trees tall enough from which to let them swing.

A flu epidemic hit in 1919, filling up the only funeral home in town, which was part of the hardware store. It so severely overran the town that there weren't enough men well enough to dig the graves of those who had died. Medical care was at best a kind of potluck affair. The one doctor who settled in Odessa during this period, Emmet V. Headlee, used the dining room of his home as an operating room. He performed the operations while his wife administered the anesthetic.

By 1920 the population had dropped back down to 760, and it was hard to believe that Odessa would survive. But ironically, the Zanesville elite was right in its fanciful prediction that Odessa was bubbling with a bounty of riches.

Unknown to anyone when it was founded, the town was sitting in the midst of the Permian Basin, a geologic formation so lush it would ultimately produce roughly 20 percent of the nation's oil and gas. With major oil discoveries in West Texas in the early and mid-twenties, the boom was on, and Odessa was only too eager to embrace the characteristics that distinguished other Texas boom towns of the period: wild overcrowding, lawlessness, prostitution, chronic diarrhea, bad water, streets that were so deep in mud that teams of oxen had to be called in to pull the oil field machinery, and a rat problem so severe that the local theater put out a rat bounty and would let you in free if you produced twelve rat tails.

Odessa established itself as a distribution point for oil field equipment and experienced more growth in a month than it had in ten years, inundated by men who were called simply boomers. They came into town once a week, their skin scummy and stinking and blackened from oil and caked-on dirt, to get a bath and a shave at the barbershop. Young children ogled at them when they appeared because it was unimaginable, even by the standards of children, to find anyone as dirty as these men were.

From 1926 on, Odessa became forever enmeshed in the cycles of the boom-and-bust oil town. It made for a unique kind of schizophrenia, the highs of the boom years like a drug-induced euphoria followed by the lows of the bust and the realization that everything you had made during the boom had just been lost, followed again by the euphoria of boom years, followed again by the depression of another bust, followed by another boom and yet another bust, followed by a special prayer to the Lord, which eventually showed up on bumper stickers of pickups in the eighties, for one more boom with a vow "not to piss this one away."

There was a small nucleus of people who settled here and worked here and cared about the future of the town, who thought about convention centers and pleasant downtown shopping and all the other traditional American mainstays. But basically it became a transient town, a place to come to and make money when the boom was on and then get as far away from as possible with the inevitable setting in of the bust. If a man or woman wasn't making money, there wasn't much reason to stay.

Hub Heap, who came out here in 1939 and later started a successful oil field supply company, remembered well the single event that embodied his early days in Odessa. It was a torrent of sand, looking like a rain cloud, that came in from the northwest and turned the place so dark in the afternoon light that the street lamps suddenly started glowing. Nothing escaped the hideousness of that sand. It crept in everywhere, underneath the rafters, inside the walls, like an endless army of tiny ants, covering him, suffocating him, pushing down into his lungs, blinding his eyes, and that night he had no choice but to sleep with a wet towel over his face just so he could breathe.

Odessa also became tough and quick-fisted, filled with men who hardly needed a high school diploma, much less a college one, to become roughnecks and tool pushers on an oil rig. They spent a lot of time in trucks traveling to remote corners of the earth to put in a string of drill pipe, and when they went home to Odessa to unwind they did not believe in leisurely drinking or witty repartee. More often than not, they did not believe in conversation, their dispositions reflecting the rough, atonal quality of the land, which after the droughts consisted mostly of the gnarled limbs of low-lying mesquite bushes. Outside of the oil business, the weather (which almost never changed), and high school football, there wasn't a hell of a lot to talk about.

J. D. Cone, when he came here from Oklahoma in 1948 to become a family practitioner, went on house calls with a thirty-eight pistol stuck into his belt after the sheriff told him it was always a good idea to be armed in case someone got a little ornery or disagreed with the diagnosis. Right after he arrived, he went with a friend to the notorious Ace of Clubs.


Excerpted from Friday Night Lights by H. G. Bissinger Copyright © 2003 by H. G. Bissinger. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Friday Night Lights: A Town, a Team, and a Dream 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 291 reviews.
jasonND More than 1 year ago
Friday Night Light Friday Night Lights is a great story that shows football isn’t the only thing in life and life isn’t fair. I liked that this story is a true story and each person in the book is represented very well with what really happened. This book is very well written, I give it a 5 out of 5, and I have no dislikes in the book. This book shows the life’s of different high school football players. Who are all seniors and want to win the championship game of the last year at high school. For many players this will be there last football game of their lives. It shows how each person handles the problems of a student athlete. Boobie Miles has bad grades but is a great running back. Boobie thinks he is the best out there and doesn’t think he has to go to school or do anything so he chooses not to. He just plays football. Until one day when he suffers a horrible accident to his leg during a game. Boobie had many colleges wanting to give him a full ride for football. Then after the accident he cant play football and no colleges want him since he can’t play ball. And now that he can’t play and he has bad grades he has nothing to support him later in life. So if you focus on just sports and don’t worry about school you won’t have a good future. Not everything in life is fair. For example when Boobie miles injures himself that isn’t fair! He had colleges looking at him and had full ride scholarships until after the accident. That isn’t fair to him. But everything happens for a reason. After his accident it changes his attitude about life. Instead of everything being about Boobie he sees that it takes 11 guys to make a team and that everyone should work together. Overall I loved the book and I give it a 5 out of 5. I did not have any dislikes. This book is good for any student athlete and is good for anybody who wants a good story of a high school football team. I would recommend this story to anybody who likes a good read.
bballB5 More than 1 year ago
Friday Night Lights is a fantastic nonfiction novel that anybody can relate to even if they are not football fans. Everybody has that one thing that they go crazy for and for the citizens of Odessa, that thing is high school football. Every Friday night, everyone, no matter their background, comes together to watch the Panthers. The town lives and breathes this team; they are obsessed with Permian High football. The novel discusses the sacrifices that the team makes to perform well and they must live up to the expectations of the fans or else face the consequences. I really enjoyed how the author got so close to the characters and he really got to know them well and he portrayed them in a relatable manner so that I could feel like I knew them. I also liked how during the games, I felt like I was standing on the sidelines and I was seeing Boobie sulk and coach yelling at Mike for that interception. I could experience it that way because of how H. G. Bissinger would describe the games and he would touch on all 5 senses to really make me feel like I was there. The only thing that I disliked about this book was the depth of the character descriptions, because with some characters the description was a little over-done and I did not feel the need to know what Mike Winchel does every Saturday. Other than that, this book is a must read for anybody who loves a story they can get into and really relate to the characters. And we all know that at some point in our lives, we get obsessed with something, but it isn't what you get obsessed with, it's how you treat the obsession, and you are not going to want to miss how the Odessians treat their obsession.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A town, a team, a dream, a bad book. Friday Night Lights was not the book I had expected. I was excited to read a book centered on the success and struggles of a famous high school football team, however I found myself reading more about the history of the town and characters/stories that seemed completely irrelevant to the current goals of the town and team. I simply did not like the lack of exciting, detailed football moments and the focus of the past more than the present. Even though I was not a fan of the book I did enjoy the way the author portrayed themes such as racism and dreams from multiple viewpoints. I also enjoyed the small parts focused on certain football players, however they were rare and weren’t as related to things on the field. I would not read this book if you are expecting something centralized on football, it is more of a long, boring story focusing on history. My rating for Friday Night Lights would be a 2 out of 5.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
After seeing the movie, Friday Night Lights, I was so interested in the story of the Permian Panthers that I decided to read the book. Although I found the movie deviates from the book I actually preferred the book. H.G. Bissinger goes beyond the football and dives into the player's lives and histories to better understand their motives in life and the reasons they desire so much to play at Permian. The book begins by describing the formation of the town of Odessa, including its highs and lows as an oil town. The story continues through the season with pauses describing players and their lives'. Expect some things that didn't happen in the movie. I really enjoyed the honesty of the players and townsfolk that Bissinger portrays. The story takes place in 1988 where there were still lots of racism towards African Americans and Mexican Americans. It shows that Odessa is imperfect, yet residents of all races are united by football. If you are interested in football at all this is a must read. You find yourself jealous of the way that the town's people treat football in Odessa. It seems as though football is a religion that is preached to young men as they grow up until their desire to play football at Permian rivals one's desire to win the lotto. Another excellent football book is Roughnecks by Thomas Cochran. I give this book 5 out of 5 stars.
hallie_grace27 More than 1 year ago
Football Fanatics Friday Night Lights is a great football novel that you can relate to if you have played or are a very strong football fan. The whole town of Odessa is obsessed with football, it’s not just a game, it’s a lifestyle. Literally, everyone in town drops everything that they are doing, grabs their stadium seats and blankets and heads off to see the Panthers in action. The major theme of this book is obviously football, but it’s also about school spirit. Everyone loves the school and the players of the teams. A second theme is surrounding how kids are brought up and their thoughts on racism. The novel talks about racism issues and how it affects some of the players. Some of the kids on the team grew up “across the tracks” and went to what many of the kids view as crappy segregated schools. These black players are only chosen to go to Permian so that they can make the football team even better. Lastly is the theme surrounding sacrifice. Obviously the black players have made sacrifices moving to a new school and dealing with racism. Unfortunately, they aren’t the only ones who must make sacrifices. All of the players are held to a ridiculous level of expectations from the fans. The fans expect that the team will win every game and when they don’t they are actually hated by the towns people. I really liked how each character was described in a very deep and personal way. It made them more relatable and real. I was able to feel their feeling when they played bad or saw the cool signs made by their pepettes. I also liked how the games were described in such great detail that it seemed like you were standing on the side lines right along with the players and the team. One thing that I disliked about this book was the writing style. The sentences were very choppy and it made it boring to read. I also didn’t like some of the unnecessary parts that made the book longer then it needed to be. For example, I didn’t need to know what a random person did every Saturday. I wouldn’t recommend this for anyone who has a hard time staying with a book, even if the story is worth it in the end. I would give this book a solid four stars.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Friday Night Lights-A true story of Football The novel Friday Night Lights by H.G. Bissinger was brought to me and I was so excited to read it because I had always heard what great of a story it was. When I read this book I was very disappointed. I thought it was okay but nothing really popped out at me saying it was different from just any old book. The main themes in the book were supposed to be the struggles of the football team, and how inspiring they can be. Instead of reading about the motivating book it was claimed to be, I found myself reading multiple chapters about the town Odessa. Another dislike I had about this book was the description. I do like watching football a lot and I am a big fan, but if you don’t know what happens in football one hundred percent of the time you will get a little lost in this book just like I did. There was one thing I did like about this book. You can make connections very easily, being in high school and having a well-known football team it is easy to connect to this book. I would give this book a two out of five. Overall this book did not meet my expectations, and I would not recommend it to someone unless they wanted to learn about the town.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Friday Night Lights by H.G.Bissinger is a terrific novel that truly depicts how an obsession can control an entire town’s life. The story takes place in Odessa, which has nothing going for it except oil and high school football. H.G.Bissinger physically went and lives in Odessa for two years and really got all the hard to reach facts out of the town. The book centers on the lives of a few high school boys who are made out to be these invincible heroes by the town, when they are really just kids. The book follows the ups and downs of a high school football player, both emotionally, physically, and socially. The boys give their heart and soul to the town and it is a riveting book. The major theme in the novel is that you should follow your own path, not the one that is chosen for you by others. This is because the entire town wants these boys to literally give themselves up for the team, when none of them go one to really focus on football in their lives. The townspeople care so much about the high school team, that there are more fans than for a college team. I specifically liked the action scenes when H.G.Bissinger perfectly portrayed the football games from a third person point of view. He helps describe the brutal tolls that are taken by the players because of the professional level of pressure placed on their shoulders. He depicts the falls of characters that the reader will feel great pity for and the uprising of characters that will evoke anger and disgust. Best of all, he exposes, in gruesome detail, a football program that does just about the most unethical things possible. The only dislike I had was some of the nonfiction stats he put in, but it really helped put in perspective what a massive deal the football was in the town. In most towns, people show up to watch the games and cheer for friends. In Odessa, football is life, and Bissinger captures this beautifully. Someone should definitely read this because it is a fun time, and it’s entertaining for sports lovers and it is a real classic that most sports fanatics will crave. If you like this book, I would recommend basically anything else from Bissinger as well as any sports nonfiction. I give this book 9.5 out of 10 and a solid 5 stars with 2 thumbs up. H.G. Bissinger helps portray a great sports classic, riveting page turner, and shocking nonfiction all at the same time. What a winner!
chillbrobeatz More than 1 year ago
Outstanding Odessa The book Friday Night Lights is set in a town in the heart of the beaten down oil business in the center of Texas at the end of the oil boom in the United States. The book tells the story of a highschool football team in the town of Odessa. The highschool is in the center of one of the poorest towns politically, economically, and mentally. It explains how the whole life of the town of Odessa rely on the Permian Panther football team and the story of many of the members of this forgotten town. The main reason that I love this nonfiction book is that it tells the real stories of real people that made a name for themselves out of nothing and the story of real people that had so much to look forward to and it was all thrown away in one moment. I like how the author uses the stories of these people to fuel the book and a propel your engagement in the story of the team and the town as a whole even more. The part that I don't like about this book is the fact that it drags on a parts when it is talking about the history of the town. It's just repetitive and I think that those parts of the book would have been smoother if they had been shorter and gotten to the point quicker. The main themes of this story is the to not ever give up on anything that you believe in and that you think is possible but also to not take good things that are suppose to happen in the future for granted. I definitely think someone should read this book because it really leaves a mark on you to work hard through every part of your life, not just the tough parts.
tannerroth More than 1 year ago
I picked this book to read because I thought it would be a good football book. I was dissapointed at how little football it was. The majority of the book was leading up to the games and talking about the town and its problems. The author did do a great job with description and detail. If you are looking for a strictly football book I wouldn't recommend this book but it is a good book about a town that lives for the friday night lights.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Football in Odessa, Texas is like oxygen, they cannot survive without it. Friday Night Lights relates the struggles, triumphs and bonds of the 1988 Permian Panther season. A town so blinded by the stadium lights, situated a champion football team as their number one priority above academics, the economy and just about everything short of their own lives. The battles on the turf field unified a town separated by deeps lines of social and racial differences to a miraculous place where dreams come true. Friday Night Lights opened a window into a frenzied lifestyle as part of the Permian Panthers and the time I indulged in this other reality was trilling and alarming, but all together thoroughly pleasurable. Two of the greatest themes expertly displayed in Friday Night Lights are life isn't always fair, so sometimes you just have to deal with what's handed to you, and the idea of parents living out their ambitions through their kids. One thing I really liked about this book was how relatable all of the characters were; I really connected with quarterback Mike Winchell and his emotional struggles. By the end of the season, the reader experienced all sensations from heartbreak to glee. I disliked the chapter called Sisters because it went into a ton of detail about the economic history of the sister cities Midland and Odessa. Everyone should read Friday Night Lights because the word choice and description as well as the author's unique writing style make for a page-turning book presenting a side of America most people are unaware of. The most important message to extract from the book is that living in the moment is simple to become caught up in and can be carefree, but it is more vital to stare ahead to the future and plan your actions accordingly so that each moment of your existence is filled with hope, success, and delight. Friday Night Lights is a must read!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is all about what high school football in Texas. This sperates the rest of the world. I never seen a town support any team more than this one
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Friday Night lights This book is a thrill seek, teenage boys growing up in a small town where the only thing they know is football. It talks about the hardships these kids face with drugs and gangs. A racially divided town that comes together through a football team. Overall this book is a must read, it relates to a ton of tons across the United States.
JoeDrape on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I re-read this recently because a) it made in indellible impression on me 20 years ago when it came out. b) I'm a huge fan of the television show. 3) my book, "Our Boys: A Perfect Season on the Plains with the Smith Center Redmen, due out Aug. 18th, has a similar construct. My family and I moved to Smith Center, Kansas to live with a town, a team and a dream. It is good now as it was then. Friday Night Lights transcends sports and tells us about who we are and what is important to us at a given moment in time.
phyllis01 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Friday nights in Texas, where the masses worship at the altar of the football uprights.
EmScape on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I had a very hard time getting through this book, although I have deep interest in both football and sociological study. At times, the writing seemed sensational with heavy-handed similes and play-by-play descriptions. At other times, it was quite technical, citing statistics of oil production and population densities. The book really shone when highlighting the people involved: players, coaches, other townspeople; the reader could tell Bissinger cared quite a bit for his subjects and was pained when he had to display their less endearing characteristics. At first, the completely backwards priorities of the town of Odessa made me extremely angry, but over the course of the book, I began to see how football came to be the ultimate (and only) worthwhile pursuit. I guess 1988 was a different era, but the blatant racism of the townspeople was also quite distasteful to me.The afterword in my edition, written 10 years after the first publication, described some of the ways the book changed the people of Odessa, and that was good to hear. I have not seen either the movie or the television show based on this book, so cannot comment on how either compares. I do intend to watch the movie, and will put in an update to this review after doing so.
kkhughes on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Excellent story portraying the magnitude of high school football in the South.
jaygheiser on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Fantastically gripping book. Didn't want to put it down, and read it in two evenings and a plane trip from Copenhagen.Written in 1990, this edition had an afterward written in 2000, discussing the continued strong emotions raised by this book in Odess
LadyHax on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
As someone who knows little to nothing about American football, I finished this book with maybe a modicum more knowledge about the game itself but that certainly was not the point. This is an incredibly captivating and compelling portrait of how a small Texan town's obsession with the sport filters through its social, political and economic relations. Perhaps most fascinating about this book were the resonances the experiences of these people has with the experiences of many today with relation to the economic crisis; it was all too familiar. While Bissinger's affection for his subjects is clear, he does not flinch from presenting a warts and all portrait, which, his epilogue notes, did not please many of his Odessan friends. I found the stories of the town and its individual citizens utterly engrossing, and was anxiously chewing my nails towards the climax, hoping as hard as anyone at Permian that they would make state...even though I had no idea what was going on in the game.
mrkatzer on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
What makes football a great team sport is that it requires a group of individuals to come together as one to accomplish a goal. This book brilliantly captures that idea, as well as the sometimes-scary importance the game has to certain people.
bell7 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
In the 1980s, the Permian High School football team enjoyed a status most people can only dream about: girls pampering the players for the school year, a town following their season with bated breath, twenty thousand fans showing up for games on Friday nights. Following the 1988 season, Friday Night Lights focuses on the town of Odessa, Texas and the social problems it faces. This is not a feel-good football story like Rudy or Remember the Titans. Though football is definitely a big part of the makeup of the town, the book focuses on the educational crises, the oil bust, racial tensions, and how all these and more relate back to the incredible devotion of this town to its football team. It will make you cringe, think, and reflect. I would recommend it to people who read nonfiction about these social areas and like books that make them think.This was not an easy book to read. I did expect a bit more football and a bit less "social aspects" (I'm taking that from the Library of Congress Subject Heading). I knew that a lot of what I was reading was the author's interpretation of what happened, which made me feel removed. His was an outsider's perspective (even though he likes football he spelled "jerseys" as "jersies" every single time, which irritated me to no end), and I felt like I would need an insider account to balance that out. I did not enjoy the book because, let's face it, it's kind of depressing and it just simply wasn't the book I wanted to read.
Capfox on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I will admit that I picked this up largely because I had just finished the first season of the TV show, and my parents really wanted me to get a book at the bookstore, and this is what I chose. However, I don't regret that choice as all; this is one of the best books on sports and society that I've ever read.The book looks at a year of football for the Permian Panthers, a perennial high school football power from Odessa, Texas. There is some football stuff, in terms of games and such, yes, but it looks more at the lives of the players and the role that football plays in the society there. These people are peaking in their lives at 18, giving everything they have to the sport and then generally losing it; the educational system around it is often a joke; the game itself is held truly as a religious rite, it seems. There's also talk of racism in the area, and the feelings of supremacy that the kids get from being football players.None of this may be exactly new, but it's taken to great depths, and the style of the writing and the layout makes the book a very compelling story. The focus may be on a few of the players, but it really looks out at the society around it, and it's not all that pretty, even if it's remarkable how much people can pull together in pride over their town and their team. The TV show definitely got the spirit right.Anyway, if you're interested in books on the role of sports in society, the line forms here. Really. Start with this one. It's very, very good.
wenestvedt on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
God help Texas if this isn't fiction. (I didn't see the movie yet.)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Read. The. Book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It is really good, but want more detail, more football, more characterization