Fever Pitch (Anglais) Broché – 6 mai 2010
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I fell in love with football as I was later to fall in love with women: suddenly, inexplicably, uncritically, giving no thought to the pain or disruption it would bring with it. Lire la première page
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"Fever Pitch" is an obsessive's tale as much as it is a fan's story, and so should appeal to the same wide audience that enjoys his excellent novels (It was my love for "High Fidelity" that sent me straight to this book). It is a memoir of surprising depth considering how it is organized only by the dates of soccer matches between 1968 and 1991, and it makes perfect sense that Hornby, or any true fan, should see the rest of his life (parents' divorce, his own education, romantic and career trouble) primarily as it relates to the team he spends so much time, money and psychic energy on.
The irony, for me, was finding out after I read "Fever Pitch" for the first time that Arsenal was one of the top teams of the last decade in England, so Hornby at least gets to feel the joy that we Red Sox fans are still waiting for. Sure, we're ecstatic the Pats won the Super Bowl, but our lives will change forever when Boston brings home the World Series. But after "Fever Pitch," I'll remember to laugh like the rest of the world laughs when American sports leagues crown their title-holders "world" champions.
Although this book follows the life of an Arsenal supporter, anyone can read it, because Hornby's experiences are no different than those of any committed, "obsessed" football fan. I am a Leeds supporter, and much of what Hornby said described what I feel, so perfectly. I especially liked the part when he went on about wanting to switch allegiances if he could, but found out that he couldn't because he was too emotionally tied to Arsenal. No matter how poorly they played, or how frustrated they made him feel, he still supported the club. I've felt the same way about Leeds on many an occasion.
A great book about life, not just about football.
My main problem with this book stems from the fact that I missed out on approx. 30% of the context because I didn't know the people (players and coaches), places and teams that he spends a great deal of time espousing on. This book is written with the assumption that the reader is steeped in all the lore, historical trivia and nuance of British football and for those with limited knowledge, well I suppose they'll find themselves grasping at times trying to catch up with Hornby's detailed play-by-play enactments of memorable goals and on field blunders. Another thing - this is Hornby's first book and it shows. For those readers accustomed to his flowing, easy to digest prose in future works ('High Fidelity,' 'About a Boy,' 'How to be Good') you might be a bit surprised at how clunky his words form here. Yes, there are some very Hornbyesque passages and moments but for the most part it can be choppy reading at times but is interesting in the framework of mind knowing how his future works will evolve into crystalline works of literary brilliance.
On the positive note, this book will certainly strike a chord for every hardcore sports fanatic out there. Hornby lovingly touches on the idiosyncracies that every true 'fan' experiences from: Superstitious ritual, disdain for the casual and/or bandwagon fan, the psyche of those who faithfully follow bad teams, etc. Also, you'll find the occassional gem on the beauty of Football/Soccer as a pure sport that makes reading through this 247 page book ultimately worthwhile.
So if you are a fanatic devotee of a sports team (doesn't matter what team or what sport) or you'd like to understand someone who is - then read this book. Highly recommended!