Photo by atomicShed used under a Creative Commons license.
Nick Hornby, Fever Pitch (Riverhead Books, 1998).
In 1968, when Hornby turned 11, his parents separated, and his father first took him to an Arsenal match. (Arsenal is a North London soccer team, now one of the top teams in England’s top league.) Somehow — the psychologically minded might propose that Hornby found security in the sport as it eluded him at home, but who cares? — he became a devoted fan of the team. Fever Pitch is the story of Hornby’s fandom, his commitment to Arsenal over the years since then. For North Americans, his book is a window into English football, at once like professional sports here but also quite English. (While Hornby worked on the 2005 Farrelly Brothers film adaptation starring Jimmy Fallon and Drew Barrymore, please don’t judge the book by that movie.)
Here is Wikipedia’s entry on Hornby, and The Guardian‘s primer on him. Here is Hornby’s web site, and here is his blog. Marshal Zeringue posts an excerpt. Chris Wesseling posts a passage he likes. Sean Smith (ESPN.com) reviews it. Christopher Clarey (The New York Times) calls it entertaining. Kim Newsome (ESPN.com) calls it the novel for the thinking sports fan, even though it isn’t a novel. Orin Judd starts with some preening about soccer. Ryan recommends it to sports fans. S. says don’t bother if you’re not a fan. Cynthia Joyce interviewed Hornby for Salon in 1996. And here’s a fan site with quite a few links.