Brought to print to take advantage of America's presumed fascination with the '94 World Cup (the first ever held here), Fever Pitch is a 24-year obsessional diary of English club football (soccer, to us Americans) games Hornby has witnessed and the way these games have become inextricable from his personal life. Hornby is the kind of fanatic who merely shrugs about the ``tyranny'' the sport exerts over his life--the mumbled excuses he must give at every missed christening or birthday party as a result of a schedule conflict. ``Sometimes hurting someone,'' he writes, ``is unavoidable.'' These occasions tend to bring out ``disappointment and tired impatience'' in his friends and family, but it is when he is exposed as a ``worthless, shallow worm'' that the similarly stricken reader can relate to the high costs of caring deeply about a game that means nothing to one's more well-adjusted friends. These moments are fleeting, however. The book has not been tailored for American audiences, so readers lacking a knowledge of English club football's rules, traditions, history and players will be left completely in the dark by Hornby's obscure references. Unfortunately, he has neither Roger Angell's ability to take us inside the game nor the pathos of Frederick Exley's brilliantly disturbed autobiographical trilogy. Though Hornby does show flashes of real humor, Fever Pitch features mainly pedestrian insights on life and sport, and then it's on to the next game--the equivalent, for an American reader, of a nil-nil tie. Author appearances. (June)
Reviewed on: 05/30/1994 Release date: 06/01/1994 Genre: Nonfiction
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