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Love's Winning Plays: A Novel Hardcover – August 27, 2012

4.7 out of 5 stars 27 customer reviews

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Intrusion: A Novel
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Editorial Reviews

Review

“A book that explores the gamut of experiences behind the scenes of collegiate football. Best of all, it's a great read where loyalty still means something in our ‘money talks’ world.” (Jon Gruden, ESPN Monday Night Football Analyst)

“A sardonic, fun take on big-time college football, where booster money plays first-team offense.” (Kirkus Reviews)

“This rollicking, tongue-in-cheek sports novel from Majors makes for a breezy read worth a few chuckles while it gives a behind-the-scenes peek at the often greedy, arrogant titans who run college football. ...[A] funny, irreverent, and savvy sports novel.” (Publishers Weekly)

Love's Winning Plays is one great big tailgate party.  Inman Majors is Roy Blount Jr. crossed with Dan Jenkins.” (Allen Barra, author of The Last Coach)

“A fast, fun book. Reads like a mixture of Dan Jenkins and Larry McMurtry.” (Barry Switzer, former coach of the University of Oklahoma and the Dallas Cowboys)

“Not since Lucky Jim has there been as lovable a hapless hero as Raymond Love. Lovable Love. In Inman Majors' romp through big-time college football, love is all fumbles, yet we cheer every play. What a smart, funny novel.” (Roger Rosenblatt)

“A rare football book for both the fanatic and non-worshiper alike. You'll meet those characters who populate every watering hole on the college circuit. Inman Majors' Coach Woody will have you chuckling out loud as Coach Love searches for his best play, yet. A superb read by a fine, young writer who understands football.” (Brent Musburger)

“I can’t remember the last time I laughed out loud this much reading a book.” (Metropulse)

“It is a gem of a comedic novel, so laugh-out loud funny that readers might not even notice that if also captures the essence of the sport with humanity and grace.” (Chapter 16)

“Majors’s wry and intelligent writing style pulls readers through the bizarre situations surrounding a major college football program… Strap yourself in—it’s a wild ride.” (Library Journal)

“(A)cidly hilarious... with both barrels, (Majors) lets loose on the venerable, holy SEC.” (Bookpage)

“The comedy, which ranges smoothly from broad to subtle, is nonstop... witty and razor-sharp throughout.” (Booklist)

“With a writer like Inman Majors, you’re in good hands, and you’re assured of an entertaining and thoughtful read. This book is the perfect way to prepare yourself for the new football season.” (Flagpole)

“Majors targets the ridiculousness of hype and hysteria over college football teams and is very funny doing it.” (Baton Rouge Advocate)

“(M)ajors zingers, like a ninja's throwing star, are quiet and deadly... When it comes to sports humor (Majors) is definitely Division I.” (Star News Online)

About the Author

Inman Majors teaches fiction writing at James Madison University. He is the author of Wonderdog, Swimming in Sky, and The Millionaires. He lives in Waynesboro, Virginia.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; First Edition edition (August 27, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393062805
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393062809
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,770,625 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Linda C. Rollins on August 29, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you have not read Inman Majors' three other novels,you have missed some worthwhile reading. Majors has shown in "Swimming in Sky," "Wonder Dog," and "The Millionaires" that he is an accomplished literary writer. He can be lyrical and experimental (He doesn't use quotation marks with dialogue). Don't let the title "Love's Winning Plays" deceive you. This novel is no romance. Instead, it is a playful glimpse at the life of a graduate assistant football coach, Raymond Love, who finds himself being initiated into the world of an anonymouse SEC university football program. Anyone who loves SEC football (or any other major football league) will thoroughly enjoy this novel. Now is the perfect time (It's football time in the SEC"!) to get a cvopy for yourself and a friend. You will have some really good laughs.
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Raymond Love, son of a high school football coach, aspires to coach at the college level, and he's got his foot on the lowest possible rung at an SEC school: He is a NON-coaching graduate assistant, one tantalizing rung away from being a coaching graduate assistant. LOVE'S WINNING PLAYS takes place during the off-season as Love participates in the Pigskin Cavalcade, joining other coaches from his school--and chaperoning one loose cannon coach in particular--as they schmooze and inspire their way through smallish southern towns and their boosters and fans and newspaper writers and discussion-group Wizards, all desperate for a whiff of big-time college football and maybe the chance to teach the head coach a more effective goal-line offense. Love is still soaking wet behind the ears, and we learn about this culture as he learns about this culture in all its horrifying and hilarious glory. I laughed on every page.
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What a fun book this is. I'm new to Majors work, but this one made me want to go and read all of his other novels. He offers a very funny satire of college football life. But the games don't take center stage here. What does is an out-of-season "cavalcade" in which the coaches go on tour to raise money and meet with the team's boosters and hard-core fans. The main protagonist is coach Raymond Love, an earnest graduate of a Division III school, who's now working as a post-graduate assistant at a big-time division one school under a flamboyant, self-absorbed coach. Love is hoping to get a full-time coaching job with the team, but his main competition for the job is another smooth-talking graduate assistant who is a master at sucking-up. During the calvalcade, Love is given one important task -- keeping the wild, hard-drinking and hard-living defensive coordinator out of trouble. There are lots of fun escapades as Love fails miserably at that assignment. The obsessed fans and boosters go under the satirists' knife as much as the coaching staff does. The novel offers a series of exceprts from fan chat rooms, and those sections are hysterically funny and a dead-on portrait of the silliness of the debates you see in comment sections on Web sites. Love also has a couple of love interests -- a cute smart-aleck peer in the sports management department, who seems to be out of bounds because she has a long-distance fiance and another, gorgeous woman whom Love eventually learns is the athletic director's daughter. She strings him along by asking him to become a member of her book club - a not very macho thing to do that none of his football peers can understand.Read more ›
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Reading Inman Major's book almost straight thru gave me a migraine. It was worth it.
Question #8 and its answer -- from the foodies' book club in the plot -- continues to plague me. The spoof on book club discussion questions at the end may be the funniest part of the novel. But save them for last.
Thanks to this book I have a renewed appreciation of coaching, sportsmanship, and even football. The narrative covers much more interesting terrain than crazy things that happen off -season and the 100 yards of college-level astroturf, or on golf courses and in bedrooms. The humanity of the characters and the insanity of their lives rings true even during the richest scenes of farce.
LWP is "The Perfect Gift" for thinking women and men who love sports -- and can laugh at themselves.
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This book made me laugh harder and more often than any novel I can remember reading. Majors' characters and the situations he puts them in are not only comic but dead on in skewering the targets of his satire. I've read other great football novels, such as "North Dallas Forty," but this one breaks new ground in exposing the absurdities and excess of college football, while at the same time conveying a sense of reverence toward the game in its purest sense. The best satire, it seems to me, not only exposes absurdity and ridicules, but also affirms some values as embodied in its characters. The protagonist, Love, is the perfect vehicle for this kind of constructive satire: witty, perceptive, skeptical, willing to learn, and by the end, principled. Like other reviewers, I love Book Club Question #8, but number nine had me laughing for days.
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