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Friday Night Lights : A Town, a Team, and a Dream

by H.G. Bissinger

416 pages
Reprint edition (September 1991)
Harper Collins (paper)
ISBN: 0060974060

I have a confession to make, Texas Bob was born and raised in the High School Football capital of Texas, Odessa. That fact has made it very hard to review "Friday Night Lights" by H. G. Bissinger. This is a story about my hometown. This is a story about one of my favorite things, Texas High School Football, and it's not a very nice story. However it is a very good read, and unfortunately a very accurate and truthful tale of misplaced priorities.

Friday Night Lights is the story of the 1988 season of the ever successful Permian Panthers of Odessa, Texas. The story of how a team holds a town together and in the end holds the town accountable.

Why did H. G Bissinger choose Odessa, Texas to write this story? I'll use his own words:

"So I went in search of the Friday night lights, to find a town where they brightly blazed that lay beyond the East Coast and the grip of the big cities, a place that people had to pull out an atlas to find and had seen better times, a real America."

A variety of names came up, but all roads led to West Texas, to a town called Odessa.

It was in the severely depressed belly of the Texas oil patch, with a team in town called the Permian Panthers that played to as many as twenty thousand fans on a Friday night.

Twenty thousand I knew I had to go there."

This is a great book. My only criticism is that there are more positive things in Odessa than are written in the book, then again that's not what the book was about.

Texas Bob