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After Friday Night Lights: When the Games Ended, Real Life Began. An Unlikely Love Story. (Kindle Single) [Kindle Edition]

Buzz Bissinger
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Nearly twenty-five years ago, H. G. (Buzz) Bissinger, then a young reporter for the “Philadelphia Inquirer,” moved to Odessa, Texas, family in tow, to follow the fortunes of the 1988 Permian High School football team. He hoped to write a celebratory treatment of a team and a town. The result: “Friday Night Lights,” a bestselling American classic that spawned the popular film as well as the series, considered by many one of the best on television.

The original book’s most compelling character was James “Boobie” Miles, and his experience in Odessa was, as Bissinger puts it in his daringly honest sequel “After Friday Night Lights,” “a symbol of everything that was wrong with high school football.” The complex friendship between subject and author has deepened over the years, and is, Bissinger writes, “the most lasting legacy of “Friday Night Lights,” or at least the legacy I care about most.”

Heading into the 1988 season, Miles looked like a star-in-the-making, a sure bet to ascend to college and the NFL. Abandoned by his mother, beaten by his dad, he had scraped through a rough upbringing, but it appeared that success on the field was soon to redeem his pain. Then, in a meaningless preseason scrimmage, Boobie blew out his knee. By midseason he was off the team, no longer needed by his coaches, who had found themselves a new running back.

“After Friday Night Lights”—an original 45-page story written to be read in a single sitting—follows Boobie through the dark years he suffered after his injury right up to a present that is imbued with a new kind of hope. It is the indelible portrait of the oddest of enduring friendships: that of a writer and his subject, a “neurotic Jew” and a West Texas oil-field worker, a white man raised in privilege and a black man brought up in poverty and violence, and a father and his “fourth son.” Their story encompasses the realities of race and class in America. And reveals with heartbreaking accuracy how men rise again after their dreams are broken.

It is a must-read for fans of the book, the movie, and the television series.

* * *
Praise for "After Friday Night Lights":

"Years after encountering a compelling character we often ask ourselves the 'what ever become of' question. In the case of Boobie Miles, Buzz Bissinger never let the story go and here he answers our questions as only he can." — Bob Costas

* * *
H.G. “Buzz” Bissinger is the Pulitzer Prize–winning author of the bestselling "Friday Night Lights,” “A Prayer for the City," and "Three Nights in August." He is also a contributing editor to “Vanity Fair” and a columnist for “The Daily Beast.” His new book, "Father’s Day: A Journey into the Mind and Heart of My Extraordinary Son," will be published May 15 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Product Details

  • File Size: 287 KB
  • Print Length: 41 pages
  • Publisher: Byliner Inc. (April 19, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B007JC6TTI
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A nice retrospective for fans... April 22, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I recently reread Friday Night Lights and was comically amused by how different it read than the first time I read it. Growing up in Texas, Friday Night Lights was one of the quintessential middle school reads. Like many others, I voraciously read the book, knowing that if I played my cards right, I too could live the life of a high school football God.

Now that I'm 26, it reads as the cautionary tale it was likely originally meant to be. FNL (along with Feinstein's A Season on the Brink) opened the door for my favorite documentary of all time (Hoop Dreams), one of my favorite books in the last year (Play Their Hearts Out by George Doehrman), and the incredible TV series by the same name.

In this short piece, Bissinger gets us up to speed with Boobie Miles, the unfortunate former star running back whose torn ACL leads to shattered dreams. Without giving too much away, Bissinger explores the difficulties of life after football, as well as how so many (including himself) got rich off of Boobie's story, Boobie received almost nothing. There's definitely moments where it feels like Buzz wants a pat on the back for his charity work. There's definitely moments when it feels like this would've been better suited to an ESPN article with its limited content. He also questions his journalistic integrity, which was especially refreshing for someone who read the Leni Riefenstahl level of propoganda that was Shooting Stars: The LeBron James story.

So is it worth a buy? If you've never read FNL, go buy that instead. If you read FNL and didn't have strong positive feelings for it, I'd leave it behind. But if you read FNL and loved it, it's easily worth it to just get the Boobie Miles life update. I do wish it would've also touched on the other FNL alums as well.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Moving and Honest April 21, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
As a Friday Night Lights newbie--I've neither read the book nor seen the movie or show--I can promise that you don't have to be an FNL fan to love this book. This story of the unlikely and enduring friendship between Bissinger and Miles will strike a chord with any reader. I'm now eager to start at the beginning, with the original book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nice Follow Up...Bissinger Writes from the Heart. April 25, 2012
By Jimmy
Format:Kindle Edition
Although a modest 37 pages, this book is straight from the heart. H.G. "Buzz" Bissinger's follow-up to his 1990 best seller, "Friday Night Lights," is a poignant statement about his relationship with James "Boobie" Miles, one of the book's central figures, who sustains a career-ending knee injury.

In "After Friday Night Lights," Bissinger discusses the profound, life-changing impact that the football injury has had on Boobie, who has struggled to maintain peace and stability in the 22 years since the injury. Considered a fourth son, Bissinger feels obligated to help a man that was abandoned by people that once cheered for him and the coaches, who's racial overtones were particularly painful to Boobie.

Buzz also discusses how both he and Boobie are forever destined to be inter-twined through the book; stuck in 1988. And, through fate and a lot of pain, a true story of love between two human beings.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Powerful, lasting journalism always carries a price April 23, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I read 'Friday Night Lights' nearly 20 years ago, and while I haven't re-read it since, 'FNL's' harshest elements have still stuck with me. I remembered why as I read this short sequel, as author Buzz Bissinger does a solid job of giving his original classic work the coda it deserves.

The original 'FNL,' at least as I remembered it, was as a tragedy. They lose the title game, Boobie Miles is hurt, the coaches are selfish, snide, and condescending, and the last moment on the championship field is scarred by a player's racist remark. That was the price of this up-close look at high school athletics - everybody looks bad, including Bissinger; as the coach said after the fact, Bissinger ate dinner in their homes, then backstabbed everyone after he left town. That's an extreme way of looking at it, but truthful journalism means a hard look at everything.

And, if a writer wants to present a true and lasting story - as opposed to a hagiography without weight or meaning - then the truth is their primary responsibility. Bissinger's not "on the team." He was there to tell a true story, and by all accounts that's what he did.

In "After FNL: When the Games Ended..." Bissinger returns to wrap up this story with the focus on Boobie Miles, a primary 'character' of the book. Life hasn't been kind to Miles. He was made into a celebrity by the book and movie, but without any of the benefits - only the notoriety.

The story Bissinger tells is not just "After" the book, but also what it's like for a reporter/journalist/nonfiction storyteller to face up to the mistakes and choices they might have made during the writing process. He didn't identify certain people in the book - decisions he now regrets.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not just a woman's perogative to change their mind January 16, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I can certainly see where Mr Bissinger is coming from in this installment. It must have been tough to cope with a career ending injury and never have the chance to go to the next level. When the book came out it, I assume it rubbed salt into the wounds of Boobie Miles.
In hindsight you can see that the transformation of Boobie's character from the book to the movie was Bissinger's first attempt to right wrongs. I was never quite sure why Miles went from someone who rejected the team in the book to not just a cheerleader but the very soul of the team in the movie until I read "After FNL"
Bissinger feels a lot of guilt. He really savaged Miles in the original and is trying to undo the damage. However to say this is when the games end and real life begins is misleading. Miles and Bissinger are in denial. Easy for me to say but both need to face up to their respective demons and move on.
I hope it works out for both
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved the first book
Loved the first book. Interesting follow up. If you read the first one you will probably enjoy yhis one too.
Published 10 days ago by wwrrmm1953
4.0 out of 5 stars Not bad at all
A very interesting book. This book takes you o. A journey into the life Boobie miles a former high school football star who was used and abused by his the people he trusted: his... Read more
Published 4 months ago by joseph hamilton
2.0 out of 5 stars Buzz Bissinger/Woody Allen
Same whiny narcissistic "I'm a Jew" excuse for being so much better off than the subject without whom he would be zero. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Jay H. Holtzman
4.0 out of 5 stars Wish it was longer, want to hear more
I really enjoyed reading a recap of the relationship that has continued with buzz and boogie since FNL has been published.
Published 8 months ago by Michael S. Walpole
3.0 out of 5 stars After Friday Night Lights
It is a good book that looks at Bobbie Miles's life after football. If you love Friday Night Lights you will like this book.
Published 8 months ago by Dan Horacek
4.0 out of 5 stars a good where are they now book
If you liked FNL then this book is for you. It is one of the best "where are they now" books but with insight and real reflection. Read more
Published 11 months ago by R. Kumpula
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful (if tragic) return to the Lights
I absolutely loved the original "Friday Night Lights" book. It inspired me to write and remains a gold standard for American journalistic non-fiction (in my opinion). Read more
Published 11 months ago by Sabbath Soldier
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting read
It was good to find out what happened to the players after the game that changed their lives. I would recommend it to someone who has seen the movie or read the book.
Published 12 months ago by heather cardwell
5.0 out of 5 stars Real Like Begins
It shows just what happens in the blink of an eye. Adults living their lives through young impressionable vulnerable souls. I love Friday Nights Lights. Read more
Published 12 months ago by chris jennings
5.0 out of 5 stars After the series
If you saw the TV series then you will love the book as it follows the characters and author a decade or so after the high school graduation
Published 13 months ago by Ron Di
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