Finding the Game: Three Years, Twenty-Five Countries, and the Search for Pickup Soccer

Gwendolyn Oxenham. St. Martin’s, $25.99 (304p) ISBN 978-1-250-00204-4
A former player at Duke University, Oxenham spent three years traveling the world with her boyfriend (who had also played soccer, at Notre Dame), his former Duke teammate, and her college filmmaking partner in the hopes of playing in and filming pickup soccer games in what would turn out to be 25 different countries. The result was the documentary film Pelada, but this book gives more than the behind-the-scenes accounting of the ups and downs of making the movie and trekking the globe on a shoestring budget. The friends go to interesting places and play lots of futbol, but it is the people they meet—a superstar who just happens to be a tiny girl from a Brazilian slum; criminals in a Bolivian prison; Arabs and Jews who grudgingly play against one another in Jerusalem—that truly make the young travelers’ point that sometimes sport can be more than just a game. While all the filmmakers have a role in the book, this is Oxenham’s story, a memoir of a young woman transitioning from school and sports to work and life outside the collegiate bubble. Imbued with both the spirit of youth and the wistful longing of past travels, Oxenham’s narrative is a suitable companion to her film and a proud testament to her favorite game. B&w photos. (July)
Reviewed on: 05/21/2012
Release date: 06/19/2012
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Open Ebook - 304 pages - 978-1-250-01088-9
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