It has been a long time and a lot of miles since I last read Friday Night Lights. At the time, I had lived in only one state in memory and had ventured beyond my small hometown just to the weird cocoon of college (and the even weirder cocoon of grad school). Since then I’ve lived in six more states, worked in three professions, and started a family. Notably, I did a swing through Texas itself, if there can be any comparison between Houston and Odessa (probably not, no). I consumed the movie and TV series the book produced and gobs of movies and TV and fiction and nonfiction besides.
I almost put Friday Night Lights: A Town, a Team, and a Dream down as soon as I picked it back up. The book starts off displaying some of the worst pretensions, literary and otherwise, that I have come to despise. Bissinger is a smug, elitist asshole. But don’t let that fool you—he has written a phenomenal book. By dint of luck and talent, if not good intent, he captured a magic, manic season in a place gutted by an oil bust and gone mad for football. This is a book well worth reading whether or not you care about high school football or that big empty part of Texas.
(My review, by the way, is of the version featuring a new afterword written a year after the original edition was published, not the 25 year anniversary edition.)