July 30, 2007

Friday Night Lights

Friday Night Lights
H. G. Bissinger


(July 30, 2007)

In Texas, schoolboy football is the most important thing in town. Bissinger follows the season of the Permian High School Panthers, whose rivals include the high schools from George Bush's hometown, Midland.

Bissinger says he set out to write something like Hoosiers, that the darkness of the story -- the way the kids are mistreated, ignored, derided, discarded -- came as a surprise. Still, it's a predictable tragedy. What's best, here, is the way Bissinger expertly plays with narrative rhythm, how he keeps the games themselves largely offstage, and how we gives space to the cheerleaders, the parents, and the tired old Texas guys who, long ago, were themselves schoolboy stars.