Playing for Pizza

Version: Unabridged
Author: John Grisham
Narrator: Christopher Evan Welch
Genres: Fiction & Literature
Publisher: Random House Audio Publishing Group
Published In: September 2008
# of Units: 6 CDs
Length: 7 hours
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Rick Dockery was the third-string quarterback for the Cleveland Browns. In the AFC Championship game against Denver, to the surprise and dismay of virtually everyone, Rick actually got into the game. With a 17-point lead and just minutes to go, Rick provided what was arguably the worst single performance in the history of the NFL. Overnight, he became a national laughingstock and, of course, was immediately cut by the Browns and shunned by all other teams.

But all Rick knows is football, and he insists that his agent, Arnie, find a team that needs him. Against enormous odds Arnie finally locates just such a team and informs Rick that, miraculously, he can in fact now be a starting quarterback–for the mighty Panthers of Parma, Italy.

Yes, Italians do play American football, to one degree or another, and the Parma Panthers desperately want a former NFL player–any former NFL player–at their helm. So Rick reluctantly agrees to play for the Panthers–at least until a better offer comes along–and heads off to Italy. He knows nothing about Parma, has never been to Europe, and doesn’t speak or understand a word of Italian. To say that Italy holds a few surprises for Rick Dockery would be something of an understatement.

Reviews (15)

Playing for Pizza

Written by Werner on June 18th, 2016

  • Book Rating: 5/5

A great lighthearted story that was very entertaining. A great writing job and a great reader. Strongly recommend this book

Let's go to Italy

Written by Anonymous on August 10th, 2010

  • Book Rating: 5/5

I loved this book! I love football so this was definitely a great read. Even if you don't like football you will like this book. The reader makes all the accents and it's so funny at times! Recommend it for sure!

Playing for Pizza

Written by Pam on February 2nd, 2010

  • Book Rating: 5/5

What a great story. What great characters. I highly recommend. Very fun.

Playing for Pizza

Written by betty from Ethel, AR on January 26th, 2010

  • Book Rating: 5/5

Loved this story. The character found that being a great football hero was not all that was needed to be have a great life. Good reading for the soul.

surprissingly good

Written by Anonymous from Skokie, IL on January 18th, 2009

  • Book Rating: 4/5

I find Grisham overrated and I have no interest in Italy and dont like sports let alone football. This book quickly grabbed me and would not let go. I became interested in everything I was not before.


Written by Anonymous on January 9th, 2009

  • Book Rating: 1/5

Very boring book. Only made it through 3 discs and decided I couldn't take it anymore. Not up to Grisham standards.

playing for pizza

Written by sey hey kid on December 11th, 2008

  • Book Rating: 3/5

Very entertaining and a very informative perspective on american football in Italy. well done. I bet doing the tax-deductible research was very hard..?

terrible story

Written by Anonymous on December 1st, 2008

  • Book Rating: 1/5

I usually like John Grisham, but this book was awful. I turned it off halfway through. The plot did not go anywhere and there was way too much mindless description of things. Don't waste your time.

A little Slow

Written by Tanya from Grand Prairie, TX on November 19th, 2008

  • Book Rating: 3/5

The book started out good but as it went along it dragged in places. It's hard to explain. The content and story was good but then it just ended blaw. I am not saying it was a bad story but I felt I wasted my time.


Written by Mickey Way on November 9th, 2008

  • Book Rating: 5/5

If you are a football fan, you will love this book. Although I am just a casual watcher of football, I really enjoyed this story. Very good job of illustrating the action and plays on the football field to the degree that you could imagine you are actually sitting in the stands watching the game. I lived in Europe for a number of years, and the way John Grisham describes the cities and countryside took me right back over there. One thing I would recommend; Eat before you listen to this book. The way Mr. Grisham writes about the wonderful Italian meals is SO accurate that you can almost smell the restaurant they are dining in. (It will make an empty stomach grumble.)

Author Details

Author Details

Grisham, John

Long before his name became synonymous with the modern legal thriller, he was working 60-70 hours a week at a small Southaven, Mississippi law practice, squeezing in time before going to the office and during courtroom recesses to work on his hobby—writing his first novel.

Born on February 8, 1955 in Jonesboro, Arkansas, to a construction worker and a homemaker, John Grisham as a child dreamed of being a professional baseball player. Realizing he didn't have the right stuff for a pro career, he shifted gears and majored in accounting at Mississippi State University. After graduating from law school at Ole Miss in 1981, he went on to practice law for nearly a decade in Southaven, specializing in criminal defense and personal injury litigation. In 1983, he was elected to the state House of Representatives and served until 1990.

One day at the DeSoto County courthouse, Grisham overheard the harrowing testimony of a twelve-year-old rape victim and was inspired to start a novel exploring what would have happened if the girl's father had murdered her assailants. Getting up at 5 a.m. every day to get in several hours of writing time before heading off to work, Grisham spent three years on A Time to Kill and finished it in 1987. Initially rejected by many publishers, it was eventually bought by Wynwood Press, who gave it a modest 5,000 copy printing and published it in June 1988.

That might have put an end to Grisham's hobby. However, he had already begun his next book, and it would quickly turn that hobby into a new full-time career—and spark one of publishing's greatest success stories. The day after Grisham completed A Time to Kill, he began work on another novel, the story of a hotshot young attorney lured to an apparently perfect law firm that was not what it appeared. When he sold the film rights to The Firm to Paramount Pictures for $600,000, Grisham suddenly became a hot property among publishers, and book rights were bought by Doubleday. Spending 47 weeks on The New York Times bestseller list, The Firm became the bestselling novel of 1991.

The successes of The Pelican Brief, which hit number one on the New York Times bestseller list, and The Client, which debuted at number one, confirmed Grisham's reputation as the master of the legal thriller. Grisham's success even renewed interest in A Time to Kill, which was republished in hardcover by Doubleday and then in paperback by Dell. This time around, it was a bestseller.

Since first publishing A Time to Kill in 1988, Grisham has written one novel a year (his other books are The Firm, The Pelican Brief, The Client, The Chamber, The Rainmaker, The Runaway Jury, The Partner, The Street Lawyer, The Testament, The Brethren, A Painted House, Skipping Christmas, The Summons, The King of Torts, Bleachers, The Last Juror, and The Broker) and all of them have become international bestsellers. There are currently over 225 million John Grisham books in print worldwide, which have been translated into 29 languages. Nine of his novels have been turned into films (The Firm, The Pelican Brief, The Client, A Time to Kill, The Rainmaker, The Chamber, A Painted House, The Runaway Jury, and Skipping Christmas), as was an original screenplay, The Gingerbread Man. The Innocent Man (October 2006) marks his first foray into non-fiction.

Grisham lives with his wife Renee and their two children Ty and Shea. The family splits their time between their Victorian home on a farm in Mississippi and a plantation near Charlottesville, VA.

Grisham took time off from writing for several months in 1996 to return, after a five-year hiatus, to the courtroom. He was honoring a commitment made before he had retired from the law to become a full-time writer: representing the family of a railroad brakeman killed when he was pinned between two cars. Preparing his case with the same passion and dedication as his books' protagonists, Grisham successfully argued his clients' case, earning them a jury award of $683,500—the biggest verdict of his career.

When he's not writing, Grisham devotes time to charitable causes, including most recently his Rebuild The Coast Fund, which raised 8.8 million dollars for Gulf Coast relief in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. He also keeps up with his greatest passion: baseball. The man who dreamed of being a professional baseball player now serves as the local Little League commissioner. The six ballfields he built on his property have played host to over 350 kids on 26 Little League teams.