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Kick the Balls: An Offensive Suburban Odyssey Hardcover – June 12, 2008


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Hudson Street Press (June 12, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 159463047X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594630477
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.6 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,708,907 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Black's sardonic view of suburban America and his propensity for saying the wrong thing to the wrong people may remind some of a Scottish Larry David, but this San Francisco writer and pub manager possesses a distinct voice and an aggressive passion for soccer: "Earth wasn't pigskin shaped, all the skeptics had to do was look at the heavens and see what God's game was... the perfect immaculate conception of our fertile earth was the soccer ball, soft and hard at the same time, delightfully floated, spinning with atmosphere and promise." Black ties in memories of childhood fandom in Glasgow with tales of coaching the eight-year-old Dragons, his son among them, managing bar and watching late night TV with his ice cream, Ben and Jerry ("I grabbed Ben and Jerry and marched them to the sofa"). Merrily skewering every target in sight (especially soccer moms: "The field was a big womb and their babies were in there kicking"), Black includes lots of fantasy, funny nicknames and fake articles from an imaginary newsletter, "The Sporting Green." Any suburbanite with kids in organized sports will find Black a riot, provided they aren't easily offended; readers may actually learn some new swear words.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

"Savagely hilarious."
-Po Bronson, author of What Should I Do with My Life?

"Any suburbanite with kids in organized sports will find Black a riot."
-Publishers Weekly --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Alan Black's is the author of Kick the Balls (Plume/Penguin) and The Glorious World Cup (with David Henry Sterry - NAL/Penguin). He grew up in Glasgow, Scotland, and now lives in California. Check out his website at www.alanblack.info and thegloriousworldcup.com for his latest title.

Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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To get the full rush, you need to hear Alan in your head as you read.
Ransom Stephens
This is a hysterical, thought-provoking, funny, tragic memoir about the world's biggest and most popular religion. soccer.
David Henry Sterry
Recommended to anyone in need of a hearty jaundiced laugh at the world and themselves.
Kurt Biddle

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Kurt Biddle on June 28, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
When I was a kid in the 1970s, they said in the future soccer would become massively popular in America and we would all use the metric system. Didn't happen. The metric system is pretty much only used to refer to illicit drugs, but almost every American kid in the suburbs plays in a soccer league at least once.

Alan Black's "Kick The Balls" is about his adventures coaching a kids' soccer league, yes. But it is much more. It's about Alan trying to assimilate into the American suburbs. And this is the super funny stuff. No one is safe from Black's barbs: TV preachers, kids, Dockers pants, parents, multiculturalism, the cult of the suburban lawn. Oh and it's not just a snarky hit piece on the easy target of suburban life, Black reserves his sharpest wit to mock himself: a cynical, uncomfortable, Scottish transplant to California. Recommended to anyone in need of a hearty jaundiced laugh at the world and themselves. Extra bonus funny (and insightful) if you are in the position of trying to cope with maintaining your identity and making new friends in a suburban, middle class, vanilla wasteland (i.e., if you're like this reviewer).
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Stephen Cannavaro on June 18, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I saw this book at my local bookstore earlier today, and read the dustjacket description. I was delighted to see one of Bill Shankly's famous quotes, and started flipping through it. I read the first three chapters standing in the sports aisle, then bought it, took it home, and read it straight through. I enjoyed it immensely; the author's misanthropic tale of youth soccer is as hilarious (and, as the cover states, offensive) as it is heartwarming, as he tries to bring some level of discipline and success to a motley group of youngsters. As a huge fan of the game, it was very interesting to see an outsider's perspective on the little league culture in the United States, and a little bit validating to see the level of ridiculousness of it all exposed.

I highly recommend this book to fans of the beautiful game, as well as fans of a good laugh at the author's (and America's) expense.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By ringeroo on September 3, 2008
Format: Hardcover
and a takedown of all that is suburban flatlining. Late night laughs that kept my girl up and she ended up protesting everytime I picked it up.
I passed a copy off to a Scottish bartender, here in LA, so that she would be able to use the comeback to, "Glasgow" "oh.what part of England is that..." "the scottish part"
Great job Senor Black...E.E.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Kurt Biddle on July 22, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I wrote a review for this book on June 28 and now it's gone. In fact, there were a few reviews up here. Well, thanks to Google cache here's what I said:

When I was a kid in the 1970s, they said in the future soccer would become massively popular in America and we would all use the metric system. Didn't happen. The metric system is pretty much only used to refer to illicit drugs, but almost every American kid in the suburbs plays in a soccer league at least once.

Alan Black's "Kick The Balls" is about his adventures coaching a kids' soccer league, yes. But it is much more. It's about Alan trying to assimilate into the American suburbs. And this is the super funny stuff. No one is safe from Black's barbs: TV preachers, kids, Dockers pants, parents, multiculturalism, the cult of the suburban lawn. Oh and it's not just a snarky hit piece on the easy target of suburban life, Black reserves his sharpest wit to mock himself: a cynical, uncomfortable, Scottish transplant to California. Recommended to anyone in need of a hearty jaundiced laugh at the world and themselves. Extra bonus funny (and insightful) if you are in the position of trying to cope with maintaining your identity and making new friends in a suburban, middle class, vanilla wasteland (i.e., if you're like this reviewer).
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By CAPoiDog on May 20, 2009
Format: Hardcover
My kids play competitive (club)soccer and I've been heavily involved with the sport as a coach and a referee. I was really looking forward to reading the book.

Unfortunately, the author seems more concerned about putting together an endless stream of witicisms than he does with telling a good, funny story. In the real world of youth soccer in the US, there are more hysterically funny stories about crazy parents, overbearing coaches and power-mad administrators than most people would believe. This book doesn't touch on any of them, and just wasn't funny.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Paul Allaer TOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 14, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Scottish-born (but now US naturalized citizen) author Alan Black grew up on soccer in his early life before moving to the US (pretty much similar as myself), and decided to take up coaching the soccer team of his young son in Northern California. This book brings the humorous account of his experiences with that.

"Kicking the Balls" (268 pages) is intended to be, and at regular times is, a humorous account of what it's like to coach an inept young soccer team, reminding me in spirit of "the Bad News Bears" baseball movie of yesteryear. The team's head coach is a guy originally from Iran, bringing some funny interludes and memories of the 1978 World Cup Iran-Scotland match, which ended in a shameful draw for the Scots. Later, the Iranian guy coach of the young soccer team leaves and it puts Black in charge of the team, but alas, no improvement for the team as it loses game after game. Eventually, the main goal to be achieved is to score just once.

The book is a quick read, but be forewarned, there is a lot of cussing and swearing throughout the pages, and it frankly is a turn-off at times. But as the author makes clear, that is what Scots just do. Whatever. I'd recommend this book if you have a few hours to fill on a long plane ride (which is how I read this), nothing more.
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