The book fever pitch is written by Nick Hornby. Nick Hornby was born in England in 1957, and is still alive. His first book, a series of critical essays on American novelists, was published in 1992. His last book is maybe not published jet, but the one last published is “31 songs” published in 2003. Fever pitch, witch is a novel, is Hornby`s book number two. It was published in 1992 and the same year it won the price of William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award. Later it has becomed both a film and a play.(I have decided not to write a complet handlingsreferat, because I don’t think that will have any good results and it will not make a picture of the book. Therefor I make tell something about the book and how it is built with some quotation)
Fever Pitch is a book about Nick Hornby`s life devoted to Arsenal football club. The book is written in a way that we get to know Nick as a person, and also a lot about football and his relationship to it. Nick Hornby once said that the book, Fever Pitch, is not only for fully paid-up football fanatics, but also for those who would like to know how it is to be like that. He also said that it is not only a football book, but it is a book that tells about the nature of obsession where football just happens to be the spotlight in the case.
In the book he takes us with him into his life, and he tells us about how he became an arsenal supporter and almost up till the day he finished the book. The book has three parts: 1968-1975, 1976-1986 and 1986-1992. In each part we hear about how it goes with both arsenal and Nick`s personal life. The first chapter is written in 1991 when he started to write the book, and it is an intudruktion of the book. Here is a quote from
the first chapter.
“she asks me what I am doing this week, and I think: 1) I`m seeing matthew on Wednesday. 2) Matthew`s still got my Champions video. 3) [remember that matthew has not been to Highbury for a couple of years].
And in three easy stages , I am on my way. I see Limpar running at Gillespie swaying to his right, going down: PENALTY! DIXON SCORES! 2-0!…
What are you thinking about? She asks.
At this point I lie..”
I think this sitat gives us a nice picture of the book. We get a clue of what the book is about: A man that loves football!
After this first chapter comes part one.
Part one (1968-1975)
Nicks mother and father divorced when nick was about elleven. And Nick lived with his mother for the most of the time. But then in may`68 Nicks father asked him if he would like to come with him for an Arsenal match. Nick said he was not interested in football, and at that time that was true. But still he watched the game on television. Then he saw another game with some other team, and then it was all done. He became a football fan, and then later he understanded that Arsenal was the team of his heart. In the beginning of his arsenal fandom he is not old enough to go to matches by himself, but his father is glad to join him. In the beginning this is kind of a way that they can communicate, since Nick lives with his mother most of the time. It does not take long before Nick is a huge Arsenal fan that wakes with a nervous feeling every morning of an Arseanl-match-day.
He describes that he could not realax before Arsenal was in the lead of 2-0. As he became older he also wanted to go to away-games.
And surprisingly his mother allowds him to go. As the years go bye, and arsenal win, play nil-nil, and loose, nick becomes 15 and ready for graduating. For all this years the sundays with football-matches was all that mattered. But then at the age of fifteen he got his first girl friend.
“she was, I thought, beautiful, with the long, straight, centre-parted hair and the melting doe eyes of Olivia Newton-John; her beauty had redused me to nervous and miserable silence for much og the duration of our relationship, and it was no real surprise when she mooved on to a boy called Daz, a year older than me, after just about one month.”
The sunday after he was dumped he went to see Arsenal loose 1-0 in a boring home-game.
Of corse he regrettet their defeat against Derby, but bot as much as he regrettet beeing dumped by his first girl friend, Carol Blackburn. But the time went on, and Nick graduated. He choosed to stay home for one more year and started to work in a place called Boots while he was taking some more classes at school. During Nick`s teens Arsenal was all that mattered for him. He felt that Arsenal substituted for an extended family he did not have on his muthers side. But this season 73/74 arsenal started to go down again. And the season after that they played terrible. Nick stopped beeing a fan, but not only because they were going down, but because he had to prioritate other things.
“life was about to begin , so Arsenal had to go”
Part two (1976-1986)
In part two Nick is back at Higbury with a hope of a new dawn. He had now finished university, and started to work for a big company in the City. But he found it very boring, just as in school. And things were not bether when Arsenals first game of the seson ended 0-1. While Nick went to Cambridge collage he could not afford to travel every sunday to see Arsenal play, and therefor Nick started to see Cambridge United games. And for the first time in a long time he enjoyed watching a football-match.
Nick did not like the thought of beeing adult. He was a bit afraid, and football was a way of coping with it all. At the time at Cambridge Nick falled in love with a girl. She meant a lot to him. She was his first girlfriend that came to Highbury to watch Arsenal play.
Nick believes that different tilfeller have an effect of how Arsenal playes. And in this game he thougth that his girlfriend had very much to do with Arsenal winning the game.
The relationship becomes serious, but it does not last for the rest of their life.
What happened was that she fainted in a football-match when it was very much exitment. Her girlfriend helped her to the hospital, but Nick did nothing, apart from praying for an equaliser.
After the game he was very much ashamed, but the girl was gone.
Nick had now been a suporter for 10 years, and thrue does then years Arsenal had only won two trophies. They had reached finals, but failed. In this 10 years Nick had grown from 15 to 25, and thrue does years he had becomed a very different person.
At the age of 26-27 he decided to start writing for living. But he did not. He had some kind of packt with him self that if arsenal won the league he would not mind the rejection slip.
Nick`s father and his new family had lived in France and America for 10 years, and now they moved home again. Nick became friends with them all, and went to a lot of Arsenal games with his thirteen-year-old half-brother.
Nick had a few relationships thrue the years, some was serious and some not. Some day in 1981 he split up with a girlfriend and started to work as a teacher.
Two years later he packed-up the teaching job and decided to become a writer.
At this point Nick was starting to be tired of Arsenal. They won and loosed over and over again.
But then one day he was introduced to Pete, another Arsenal fan, and that maid Nick continue to go to matches. Pete and Nick became good mates and went to every Arsenal-matches that year.
In 1984 Nick started teaching again, and then something terrible happened. There was a game against Juventus and Arsenal, and there were so many people there that many of them were killed and the match was off. Today its called the Heysel.
The season following Heysel was Nick`s worst season ever, and that was not because Arsenal played bad, but because of the tragedie that had happened in may.
Arsenal losed a big game, and Nick became almost depressiv. But the people around him don’t understand, but there were many others that felt exactly like him.
“I was not the only one. There was this hole community who cared more about what was happening to their Arsenal more than they cared about anything else”.
Part three (1986-1992)
In the beginning of part three Arsenal gets a new manager, George, and Nick byes a season-ticket at Highbury. Nick has a new girlfriend, but they have some trouble in the beginnig. This girl becomes a real Arsenal fan, and every man would like their girlfriend to love their team as much as them. But after some time Nick thinks that she becomes too much involved.
This season Arsenal does it very well,and they win the trophie.
But then Arsenal starts to loose again, and Nick gets in to a periode with depression. It is over with him and his girlfriend, and this time Arsenal is no substitute for anything.
He starts to go to therapy, but after some time he does not afford it. He stopps having therapy, because he is not ill enough to get it for free. But then one day, he watches Arsenal win at Highbury and then the hole depression seems to dissapear.
In 1998 started Nick to work for a Far Eastern Trading Company. He asks his work-mates if they would like to join ham at Highbury, but then they just laugh at him like it should be a joke. He continued working at the company, and watch arsenal both win and loose at Highbury. As we have understanded (and we of corse know from before reading the book)
Nick wants to become a Writer. But since he still hav not becomed a real Writer, he starts to get stressed about it. His friends have everything. A life, wife , and maybe even children. But there is one thing that makes him calm down, and that is the author Walter Tevis that wrote this quote,
“that’s what the hole goddamed thing is: you got to commit yourself to the life you picked. And you picked it – most people don’t even do that. You`re smart and you`re young and you`ve got, like I said before, talent”.
He keeps on trying to write, and he also finds a new place to live. He moves to an appartment right a side of Highbury. Nick had a very strong comitment to Arsenal, and he just could not stop it. When a friend had a birthday party the same day as an Arsenal match he prioritated the match. He just had to go to every game, cause what if they won a game, and he was not there??
There is lot of questions about the security at football games, there have been lots of accidentes where people have died. But whatever they tried to do about it, it did not work.
Arsenal is ready to win again. They have done it pretty good and now they are in the final. Nick desides not to go there. He goes to work, and then he goes straight to a friend to watch the game on television. He could not believe it, but Arsenal won the game.
“I ran straight out of the door to the off-licence on Blackstock Road: I had my arms outstretched, like a little boy playing aeroplanes, and as I flew down the street, old ladies came to the door and applauded my progress, as I was Michael Thomas himself”.
Something changed with Nick as he came in his Thirties. He became an Unkel, he bought a CD-player, he started to prefer resaurants in stead of clubs, he bought a cork-board to have in the kitchen. He also bought a season-ticket at the SEATS at highbury (after standing for over 15 years). He got tired of all his old manners.
In may 1991 Arsenal won the league again, and Nick saw it from his seat at Highbury.
After reading a book about a boy/man that loves to watch football that much you start to wonder if he anytime used to play football. Nick played football for many years. He played at school, in the streets and with his sister in the garden. And then later he played on the team of every school, or job he had. He enjoyed it!
In 1992, when Nick was finishing his book, Arsenal started to go down again. And a nil-nil draw between Arsenal and Aston Villa(who was not very great at that time) made his hole life flash before his eyes. “ all that was missing was Ian Ure falling over his feet, and my dad, grumbling away in the seat next to me”.
I must say that it is not very easy to find a highlight in this book. There is so much to choose from. It is always the same. Arsenal win, Arsenal looses, he gets a girlfriend, they breake-up, he startes to a school, job, starts to write, and then gets another job. But Nick him self sais at page 166 in his book that that is the higlight of the book. It is about Arsenal about to win some game. For me that is not the highlight of the book. I don’t even understand much of it. I would say that the highlight maybe is when Nick starts to go to therapy. Cause after that everything changes.
I have found to favorite quotes, the first is from page 192
“when I am at highbury on a big night, or, of course , Wembley on an even bigger afternoon, I feel as though I am the centre of the whole world.”
This describes how much Nick Hornby is banded to Arsenal and football. He really feel like he is the centre of the world. That must be a very spesial feeling, that only he know how feels.
My second favorite quote is from page 220
“ everything about the night was memorable, right from the moment when the teames came on to the pitch and the Arsenal players ran over to the Kop and presented induviduals in the crowd with bunches of flowers. And as the game progressed, and it became obvious that Arsenal were going to go down fighting, it occurred to me just how well I knew my team, their faces and their mannerisms, and how fond I was of each individual member of it. Merson`s gap-toothed smile and tatty soul-boy haircut, adam`s manful and endearing attempts to come to terms with his own inadequacies, Rocastle`s pumped-up elegance, Smith`s lovable diligence…. I could find it in me to forgive them for coming so close and blowing it: they were young, and they`d had a fantastic season and as a supporter you cannot really ask for more than that.”
I guess this is the quotation I like the most. It is like he suddenly remember that the team he really wants to win is people they also, and that people is not always perfeckt. And then he describes the players in a way that you get the feeling that he really loves them (and not like a man loves a woman, but as a mother loves its child.)
I really liked the book, and I enjoyed reading it. I just had a little problem with writing short about it, because I felt that there was important to have these things with to get a picture of the book. I found the book interesting, because I learned a lot about the english football cultur. I had no idea that it was that extreeme. I have heard of hooligans before, but not how they are.
I can understand that you can be that attached to your team as Nick became, cause after all I am a Ham-Kam fan and I know how it is to be nervous at every game before Ham-Kam is in the lead. And I know how it is to know the team on the pitch, their faces, their names, which qualitates they have and so on. Maybe I should be the first girl writing about the same thing?
I guess we have to wait and see. Luckily I made this bookreport finished today, so I can reach the HamKam-Molde match tomorrow!