Sunday, June 29, 2014

Review of Phil Truman's Novel GAME

Grit, Guts and Glory on Gridiron

Good guys sometimes win.

You don’t have to love football to love this book, but you probably need to like football and slice-of-life descriptions of small town living.

I greatly enjoyed Phil Truman’s novel, having myself played some high school football for a small town in New York a decade before the period covered by GAME, the seventies, but thousands of miles from the Oklahoma home of the high school team coached by the protagonist, Donny Doyle, ex-Marine, and former college football star.

They take football mighty seriously out West, but some of their other social attitudes were rather benighted. Recruiting three highly talented non-Caucasian players helped take the team toward the top, while winning mixed reviews from the home folks and derision from their opponents.

Whether the trio will be enough to help Coach Doyle’s beat their arch-rivals will depend on their injuries and on the attitude of a mountainous black defensive tackle with a bad attitude.

With many interesting, often attractive, characters and a persuasive depiction of small-town life, this novel could pass as a memoir. It is dedicated to two fellow members of Truman’s high school football organization who lost their lives in combat, and it ends with an epilogue that follows the most important characters through the rest of their lives’ stories.

I loved it. It even explained to me how the quarterback we had my senior year just joined our school for that one semester, something that had puzzled this naïve teammate of his until now.



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