From Publishers Weekly
[Signature]Reviewed by Sara Nelson
For a reviewer who's not all that clear on the difference between basketball and basket weaving, this book is a revelation. Former Esquire
editor Blythe's debut is an examination of the rivalry between the University of North Carolina and Duke University college teams; in it, he interviews and profiles players and coaches, and even gives play-by-plays of key games. And yet, it is not "just" a sports book. At heart it's a memoir. Like Pat Conroy's My Losing Season
and even Frederick Exley's A Fan's Notes
, to which the author Anthony Wofford compares it, To Hate Like This
is about family and passion and people and parents and aging and, oh, yeah, some sports, too.Blythe is a native North Carolinan whose UNC passion was bred in the bone; he and his siblings were raised to be genteel and polite about all things, except while watching basketball games, particularly against arch-rival Duke. After living in New York for many years, Blythe returns home as his father is dying and reflects on the passion that has shaped him and, he suggests, his region. Forget the Mason Dixon line, the real division in this border war is between Carolinians who support the Blue Devils and those who live for the Tarheels.Sports fans can expect to enjoy the accounts of particular pivotal games recounted here, but the real revelations for the relatively uninitiated are Blythe's portraits of his characters: the tough-guy coaches like Mike Krzyzewski and Dean Smith, one of whom nearly breaks down confessing that he's still in love with his ex-wife; the nurse tending Blythe's dying father; and, most of all, the father himself, the kind of personality you expect to meet in great southern novels from Harper Lee to Pat Conroy. To call To Hate Like This
a sports book is to be only about one-third right. An elegy to place and time and generation, it is also a story of fathers and sons and an elegant testament to the way pastimes are far more than ways to pass the time. (Mar. 1)Sara Nelson is the editor-in-chief of Publishers Weekly.
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You don’t have to be a Tar Heel or Blue Devil to like [THLT], because it’s funny, perceptive, and smart. (Jonathan Yardley, Washington Post )
An exceptionally entertaining parable in defense of good, healthy, all-American loathing.... an animosity the whole family can share. (New York Post )
The best book about politics I´ve read since All the King´s Men ... it’s about basketball [like] Moby Dick is about whaling. (Hartford Courant )
“A revelation.... an elegant testament to the way pastimes are far more than ways to pass the time.” (Publishers Weekly (signature review) )
“The kind of sportswriting that comes along so rarely you can count the classics on one hand . . . read this book.” (Play (New York Times Magazine sports supplement) )
“Blythe seduces with his story of Southern identity...passed down from fathers to their roaming sons...raucous, tender, and fierce.” (Adrian Nicole LeBlanc, author of "Random Family" )
“The best book on basketball I have ever read ... destined to become a classic of sports literature.” (Pat Conroy )
“Not since Exley’s A Fan’s Notes has anyone produced such a graceful and elegiac evocation of place, family, and sport”. (Anthony Swofford, author of Jarhead )
Goes far beyond the facile John Feinstein “inside a season” formula ... [Blythe] writes amusingly, self-deprecatingly and often beautifully. (New York Times Book Review )
Blythe writes like a wizard ... Even if college basketball isn’t your obsession, you’ll get caught up in this. (Elle )
Hilarious and remarkably wise ... you don’t want to say too much about [this book], for fear of spoiling the surprises. (Sports Illustrated )
Blythe makes you want to scream from the sidelines... while his hate is contagious, the obvious affection behind it remains. (New York Post )
Blythe brings great wit, style, and insight... a long-awaited American answer to Fever Pitch. (Baltimore Sun )
The best book about loving a team since “A Fan’s Notes” ... [a book] about a lot more than basketball. (Greensboro News & Record )