8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great story - for any audience
It's amazing - I couldn't put this book down. Whether you're interested in football or coming-of-age dramas, you'll be hooked on this one. The characters and plot were as compelling as they come. Just like I felt like I was "in" the game as each play unfolded from the quarterback's perspective, I couldn't remain on the sidelines as Bobby's world comes unwound. The...
Published on September 27, 2008 by B. Beyea
18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Okay to be gay as long as you're a masculine sports player.
I'll preface this review by stating that, like the protagonist of the novel, I am a senior in high school. I happen to be gay. I play sports (not football, but I consider myself an athlete of sorts). I do not consider myself a masculine or effeminate male, because I honestly have no idea why that should matter.
I read the reviews for this book before I started...
Published 18 months ago by Zach Bonner
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Okay to be gay as long as you're a masculine sports player.,
This review is from: Out of the Pocket (Hardcover)I'll preface this review by stating that, like the protagonist of the novel, I am a senior in high school. I happen to be gay. I play sports (not football, but I consider myself an athlete of sorts). I do not consider myself a masculine or effeminate male, because I honestly have no idea why that should matter.
I read the reviews for this book before I started to read it, and expected a character that I was easily able to relate to, and in some cases this was true, though not many. It seemed as though the novel was portraying a character that was gay, but gay in the "okay" way. It pushed me very much the wrong way. I got inklings of this throughout the novel, but it didn't hit me until Bobby was writing his article about Finch.
"Being gay means you're supposed to be effeminate..."
I felt as though the whole novel surrounds a theme that his friends and others accept him because he's gay, but because he's gay AND masculine AND attractive AND the most popular kid in school. Not because he's gay, but because his other traits make his sexuality less apparent or less "flaming". Which is hypocrisy in and of itself. I feel as though this novel was promoting acceptance of gay people, as long as they don't dye their hair neon colors and wear scarves and talk with a high pitched voice. Or that people that are not out of the closet that dress and talk this way have no need to come out of the closet, because it's "obvious" that they're gay. That theme reinforces the statement above, being that gay men are effeminate and effeminate men are gay, which detracts from what I believe the author intended, that gay people come in all shapes, sizes, and personalities and cannot be defined by a stereotype. I think that this book will actually hurt the feelings of many gay teens who are struggling with their sexuality, because if any of these teens dress in such a way or even think that they are effeminate, this novel will make them feel as if the way they are is not okay, and that they should change.
Also, during one of Finch's talks with Bobby, Bobby asks Finch if he is gay. Finch says something along the lines that he thought he was but that he likes girls too much. Why couldn't Finch just say he was straight? Did the element of questioning his sexuality have to be brought up simply because he was nerdy/geeky/not a jock?
Another point that irked me was the introduction of the character Bryan, who, when introduced, seemed to be a sketchy stalker. Bobby, who wasn't even out, didn't feel like dealing with the creepy reported who had showed up to his games because he wasn't ready for a boyfriend or to go on a date. Then Bryan used the word "cruise" which gave me the impression that Bryan was looking to "hook-up". This made Bobby run to his car and jet. Then later in the story, Bryan calls Bobby on the home phone, and all of the sudden Bobby is extremely into the conversation and excited, as if he'd completely come to terms with himself and was ready to have a boyfriend, one week from when he ran frightened from the same guy.
Also there seems to be some conflicts in Bryan's character. He is introduced as a creepy stalking reporter who is an indeterminate amount of years older than Bobby. He seems to be looking to hook up. Not only do we find that Bryan is only one year older than Bobby, but he's also a very caring, innocently intended gay college kid. I felt as though his scary introduction was misleading and unnecessary. Later, Bryan and Bobby went on their date, and then out of nowhere, Bryan tells Bobby he thought he was sexy from seeing his picture, and therefore he had to go and stalk him. Which was also completely out of the character that had been established since.
That type of language was literally never used again, which I was thankful for, because the book was really not at all about sex, and there have been many gay teen novels that I have read that might as well be pornographic.
Also, there was a rather interesting conversation between Bobby and Bryan on the phone the night before the championship game, where Bryan told Bobby he loved him. I thought this was incredibly sweet and that Bobby's reaction was typical for someone who had come to terms with himself all but a month ago. The only problem with this was that it was never resolved! I finished the book waiting to know what Bobby's response was!
Overall, I felt as if the novel was supposed to attest to the very popular fantasy that many gay teens have had, that a jock at their school comes out of the closet and is perfectly okay with himself. That was felt. I stated the points of the novel that I did not completely agree with and why. I feel as though the writing itself (in style and syntax) was very well done, and the dialogue was very well placed. I very much enjoyed the relationship between Carrie and Bobby, and thought that their humor was hilarious! Carrie was most definitely my favorite character in the novel. I read this book in one sitting and for the most part enjoyed it.
Thank you Mr. Konigsberg for writing this novel, it's always great to see a novel with LGBT themes, even if I disagree with how some of the novel was presented.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great story - for any audience,
This review is from: Out of the Pocket (Hardcover)It's amazing - I couldn't put this book down. Whether you're interested in football or coming-of-age dramas, you'll be hooked on this one. The characters and plot were as compelling as they come. Just like I felt like I was "in" the game as each play unfolded from the quarterback's perspective, I couldn't remain on the sidelines as Bobby's world comes unwound. The story centers on his coming to terms with being gay - while being thrust into the national spotlight without warning, role models or a plan. I was cheering and holding my breath the whole time - hoping that he'd find the strength to be true to himself (whatever that might mean), that his family, team and friends would support him, and that his dreams of winning on the field wouldn't be compromised by everything going on off of it.
I loved the honest portrayal of the range of emotions that each character demonstrated, as well as the ongoing humor and great sports moments throughout. It's a perfect book for adolescents -and their parents - who want to see what it's like "inside the pocket" and inside the world of a kid who must come to terms with who he is -and fast. Beyond Bobby's story of coming out, it's a well-crafted picture of how we all play a role in each other's lives, whether we want to or not.
Buy it. You'll be glad you did.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars As if Being a Teen Wasn't Difficult Enough,
This review is from: Out of the Pocket (Hardcover)Sportswriter Bill Kongisberg has written a winning book with OUT OF THE POCKET. This Coming of Age story is also the Coming Out story of Bobby Farmingham, a high school star quaterback who has dreams of making it into pro football. But much as Bobby is the perfect team player on the field the secret he carries-he's gay-threatens to set him apart from the others and dash his hopes for the future. Or does it?
Bobby's dilemma: how to be true to yourself without risking the affection and respect of those you care about and who care about you is one that will resonate deeply with adolescent readers. How Bobby navigates the path to greater self-actualization forms the plot of this very humane and compelling book. The author vividly portrays the complexity of teen life through Bobby's friends,fully realized characters whose flaws are revealed with humor and compassion.
Thanks to Bill Konigsberg's taut writing we worry right along with Bobby about how his teammates, his quasi-girlfriend, his parents will react to his news. We feel the shock and sadness as betrayal and family misfortune complicate his senior year and make his private life a public matter.
This is a thoroughly absorbing and important book, perfectly capturing the quest for identity that all teens-no matter their sexual orientation-experience.
15 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars All Heart, All Action, Pure Genious,
This review is from: Out of the Pocket (Hardcover)Memorable. A keepsake of fiction, a work of heart, expertly weaving together unforgettable action from the football field with the innermost fears and dreads and joys of teen life, teamwork and love. A coming-of-age, coming-out story like no other. Powerful and unstereotypical characters, rivoting dialogue, great twists, good laughs... and plenty of tears. Economical, masterful narrative down to each chapter, paragraph and sentence. A curious blend of sweetness and suspense sure to earn a cherished place in the hearts of teens, families... and anyone who savors the struggles and lessons of life lived to its full potential! HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Left Me Spellbound and Swept Off My Feet!!,
This review is from: Out of the Pocket (Hardcover)More times than I can count I've praised authors who have produced "well-written" books. In this particular case, I do not think such a description would do justice to such a beautifully articulated story. The writer's voice of this author is purely melodic, and the flow of the prose is so natural and seamless that it literally carries the reader along until all of a sudden they've sadly reached the last page.
Out of the Pocket is without question a coming-out and coming-of-age story, but I'm reluctant to tag it with these labels simply because I fear that to do so would trivialize the magnificent effort that went into this amazing story. It is certainly an atypical coming-out drama for numerous reasons. Foremost among these reasons is the fact that the protagonist is not some angst-ridden adolescent who secretly pines for another guy. Instead we are introduced to a very strong and confident Bobby Framingham, high school football quarterback for the Durango Bulldogs. From almost the beginning of the story, Bobby expresses that he is aware of his homosexual orientation, and he decides early on that he must confide his secret to a trusted friend. It becomes a case of "and he told two friends...and so on...and so on."
Eventually a fellow classmate and reporter for the school newspaper convinces Bobby that he can be trusted. Bobby explains to the classmate (Finch Gozman) that he is certain that he's gay, but he is not yet ready to come out publicly. Gozman betrays Bobby and runs the story in the school newspaper. It almost immediately is picked up by the local media, then the Associated Press, and then the national television and print media. Suddenly Bobby is the poster boy for gay teen athletes--much to his chagrin.
Out of the Pocket is the story about how a gay teenager who doesn't fit any of the stereotypes is able to cope with the pressure of coming out publicly. It is a story about team camaraderie and family loyalty. It is a story about friendship and even gay romance. It is about finding the courage within ourselves which allows us to step outside of our comfort zone in order to do what we know is right.
My only criticism of the book was that the author often used so much sports' jargon that I felt as if I was reading in a foreign language. Frankly the description of plays and maneuvers on the football field was a litrary device that sailed right over my head. Sadly I missed the meaning of some of the descriptions and even the metaphors simply because I did not understand. I would note that the author should be aware of the target audience to whom he is writing. If he expected sports aficianodos to be his reader base, he was right on target. If he was writing to the typical gay-romance reader, I think he went a bit overboard with the sports lingo. I would add, however, that it was believable in the sense that a first-person singular narration by a teen football quarterback probably would include a lot of sports talk.
In spite of that one minor criticism, I must admit that this deeply moving and compelling story has left me spellbound. I was literally swept off my feet by Bobby Framingham and impressed beyond description by the author's masterful prose.
Out of the Pocket is an inspiring, uplifting, must-read for all who appreciate gay-themed literature. I also highly recommend it to all who value quality prose in any genre. Great job, Bill Konigsberg, and thank you for your incredible story. FIVE STARS!!
13 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book!,
This review is from: Out of the Pocket (Hardcover)Wow! What a great book. OK, so quick synopsis...closeted gay football star makes tentative steps toward coming out only to be outted far quicker than he intended; throw in family, friends and recruiters and you've got yourself a novel! Every scene is well illustrated; the book is uplifting without being trite. So easily with gay/coming out fiction it can all get a bit preachy, but Bill K, does an amazing job of being both believable and surprising. The characters seem natural and well developed.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Truely amazing,
This review is from: Out of the Pocket (Hardcover)Today I want to recommend a book that is really amazing: Out of the Pocket by Bill Konigsberg.
Out of the Pocket
Quotes are in (brackets)
Bobby Framingham is the star quarterback at the Durango High School football team, extremely talented and nobody has a doubt he'll be a successful pro one day. He has nice parents, friends and teammates and everything would be wonderful - if he didn't know he is different in a way that might destroy everything he's living for and dreaming about: Bobby is gay.
Bill Konigsberg has written a novel about coming of age and coming out that is far more than the typical "I'm gay and unfortunately I'm a brilliant jock as well" story.
There are no parents who disown their son, no coaches who threaten to kick him out of the team, no long term friends who kick his butt when he tells them. And most of the teammates are ok with it as well. It is a story that describes in an often funny, touching and very compelling way that being gay is still trouble - even when you are supported by most of the people you care for. You still are isolated at a point and have the feeling everything is too much to bear.
Not because everybody turns against Bobby but mainly because it still is a big thing when a young man - a star quarterback by all means! - is discovered to be gay. Bobby is drawn into focus, whether he likes it or not.
What makes this story so unique is the subtle changes between Bobby and all the people who are his friends, family and teammates. Yes, there are some who aren't cool with it, but most of them can handle it. But nonetheless being gay changes the attitude between Booby and everybody he knows. And if it is only the time people need to come to terms with the news: It hurts and Bobby feels utterly alone. Not only pure hatred and big drama but also this "gay thing " at all being such an issue is hurting and out of place. Konigsberg shows this masterfully all the time i.e. with a scene, when Bobby is interviewed after a game:
(The reporters were silent. Maybe what I'd said wasn't what they'd expected, I don't know. The same guy who had asked me before the game about being a gay quarterback spoke.
"So how was it, being openly gay and quarterbacking a team to the championship game?"
In the ensuing silence, I could feel the tension. First lines for newspaper stories across the area and even the country were being devised as I spoke.
"I don't know. Sort of being an openly straight quarterback, but with a lot more media attention on me, " I said.)
Not only the plot but especially the characters make this story so outstanding and vivid. Every friend, Bobby's parents, the coach: The depth of them is amazing, everybody is an individual, you can tell who "speaks" just by the different phrasing Konigsberg uses for all of them.
As a woman I especially appreciated the women appearing:
His mother who isn't described stereotyping at all: She neither is the mother hen supporting Bobby as much as she should nor is she the dragon who drives her son out of the house as soon as she finds out he is gay. She is a warm, caring person but still has troubles to get used to a gay son. And considering all circumstances you can understand it, you know why she is troubled, fearful and yet loves her son unconditionally.
And there is Carrie: Adorable, funny, big mouthed Carrie, who everybody considers to be Bobby's girlfriend, though they never really dated. At the very beginning of the book - Bobby isn't out yet - they meet in their favorite diner and Carrie starts to discuss their relationship.
(She started talking loudly about her virginity.
"It's still here," she said, wrapping strands of her dark hair around her index finger. "And it doesn't want to be. It wants to move to Hawaii and retire, drink pina coladas under a palm tree, and get catered to by muscular Samoan boys in short shorts.")
Have you ever read an announcement: "Hey, I want to have sex" that was more hilarious? I haven't by a long shot. And one of my favorites:
(Carrie was there. She hated football but sometimes she came to my games. She came up behind me and placed her chin on my neck. "That was one of the finest basketball games I've ever seen," she said. I turned to her and smirked.
"Hockey," I corrected.
"Look, I may be white, but the name-calling is totally out of place," she said, kissing me on the cheek and heading out toward her car. She's so weird. I love her.)
So everything about this book is amazing, a book I wasn't able to put down and stop reading before I reached the very end. In case you understand anything about football you might enjoy the book even more, I'm sure I missed some metaphores because I don't know anything about football besides the quarterback must be some really important guy for this game and that being in the pocket seems to be safer than being out of the pocket.
I hope Mr. Konigsberg will publish another book soon.
Just for the record: I'm not alone judging this book to be a very great one: Out of the Pocket won the Lambda Literary Award 2009.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fresh, readable, moving, funny, thoughtful coming-out story.,
This review is from: Out of the Pocket (Hardcover)A high school football star, on the brink of college, has gotten to know himself well enough to be sure that he's gay. When he's just about to tell a few people closest to him, an act of betrayal takes it all out of his hands, and his secret becomes "news" in an ever-widening circle of exposure.
What happens to a talented athlete, who wants a team sports career, when this information gets out before he's ready to share it? What happens to him emotionally, and how will things go with best friend, teammates, girl pals, parents, coach, college plans? And -- what's he going to do about the guy who betrayed him?
In my adult life I've heard many, many stories about what things are like for a gay kid, and this book gets it just right. And: from my teen-age life I can remember the charming, youthful, manly self-possession of the high school quarterback -- Bill Konigsberg gets that right, too.
Among the many strengths of this book are a protagonist who both feels deeply and can roll with things -- I especially liked the writing of scenes in the universal male locker room, with their endless "jokes" involving words like "gay" and "faggot," as seen through the eyes of a gay young adult who is their friend and teammate - and then also the awkwardness among them all post Bobby's unplanned revelation. Here and elsewhere, the book's strong messages about time and tolerance shine through.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Upbeat, uplifting, and just a great read,
This review is from: Out of the Pocket (Hardcover)Bill Konigsberg's novel, "Out of the Pocket," is a great addition to the field of gay sports fiction. The story of Bobby Framingham benefits from a cast of well-written, distinct characters. Bobby, his teammates, his girlfriend (of sorts), his eventual boyfriend, his parents, and even his antagonist are all well-formed individuals. You get the feeling that each of these people have lives of their own and are not there just as props for Bobby's journey.
It is great to see a gay athlete's story that is not filled with tragedy (although there are life-altering family issues that have to be dealt with--and are--along the way). What could be a cliched "big-game" ending is handled deftly and appropriately and with sincerity.
I am way beyond the age of the target audience, but a well-written story is a well-written story, no matter who the intended audience is. It was a great quick read that I would have loved to have read when I was in high school or college, but still enjoyed delving into as I approach 50.
I hope copies find their way into every U.S. high school library.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Out of the Pocket by Bill Konigsberg,
This review is from: Out of the Pocket (Hardcover)Finally a novel where a boy has the chance to prove that not all teenagers are troubled kid, and that, yes, it's not simple to be g ay, but it's not even the end of the world. True, Bobby, the boy in question, is probably living in a better situation than the majority of the g ay teenagers out there, and it's easier for him, but still, what strongly comes out of this story (no pun intended), is that, if a teenager has a strong and supporting family on his back, and a good net of relationship in front, then you can be g ay, and your story can be more educative than angst.
Bobby is the quarterback of his high school football team, he is handsome and kind, he is the "beau" of the school, and he is g ay. Bobby is a serene and well balanced kid, and his coming out to himself was balanced as well, first time he awakes in terror from a wet dream where Todd, one of his schoolmates, starred as main hero; at first he was scared, he prayed for it to not be true, he tried with all his own to make them disappear. But then the dreams continued and instead of being a feared appointment, they became almost a desired escape. All alone, with the strength and the quietness that characterize him, Bobby arrives to the realization that he is g ay and the world is not crashed. He does all the right steps, he first tells to his best friend, then to the school counsellor and his football coach. He was probably arriving to his family when he is outed by a high school paper.
It's not all a pink bubble for Bobby, it's not like every person he talks with is all right with him being g ay, but, truth be told, there are more people who support him than not. It's South California, and it's High School. Bobby, after all, is only a kid, and apart some fanatics, who would really go against an high school kid? It's not fair. So yes, at least until the time he is still in high school, Bobby has like a voucher on reality, he can still think that his dreams are not all gone wasted. But I also like that the author has clearly in mind that this is only a delaying, that sooner or later, Bobby will have to face that reality, and that not everything will be all right. Will Bobby be able to be a football professional player? Maybe yes, maybe no.
Basically Out of the Pocket is the story of a teenager boy and his outing. Recently I read someone explain the difference between coming out and outing: you do coming out when you decide that it's arrived the moment to do that, you are subjected to an outing when someone else decides that for you. So Out of the Pocket is not a coming out story, it's an outing story, but it still preserve a positive vision that not often you find in a story like that: in the end, the reader has the feeling that, even if Bobby will not reach his dream, he will not have a bad life after all.
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Out of the Pocket by Bill Konigsberg (Hardcover - September 18, 2008)
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