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Out of the Pocket Hardcover – September 18, 2008

4.5 out of 5 stars 64 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 9 Up—Senior quarterback Bobby Framingham is gay and tired of keeping it a secret. He confides in a close friend who promises not to tell, and then does. Suddenly Bobby is in the spotlight, and raw emotions come into play. His best girl friend is hurt and disgusted. His coach insists that he's not really gay. His teammates' reactions range from supportive to freaked out to furious. In the meantime, his father undergoes treatment for cancer, and the football team comes together to prepare for a championship game. The sports-action sequences are well drawn and engaging, and the bond among teammates is strong. Character interactions are believable and often surprising, and Bobby is a likable narrator. A few repetitive scenes are a small price to pay for a thought-provoking, funny, and ultimately uplifting story of self-actualization that masterfully defies stereotypes about both coming out and team sports.—Megan Honig, New York Public Library
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Bobby Framingham is one of the top high-school quarterback prospects in California. He’s troubled, though, by his growing realization that he is gay—not easy in the homophobic world of school sports. He confides in his coach, a teacher, and a few friends before he is outed by an unscrupulous reporter for the school newspaper. This sets off a firestorm of national media attention, which Bobby faces bravely. At the same time, he also comes to terms with his father’s cancer, and he meets a young man, whom he starts to date. At the end, Bobby finds acceptance at home, at school, and with his friends. Most of the elements in this story, told in Bobby’s authentic first-person voice, ring true, from Bobby’s initial struggle with his sexual identity to the sometimes hostile reaction of his teammates. Bobby's father’s illness adds an unnecessary element of melodrama, but this is a minor quibble with a thoughtful, powerful novel. Grades 9-12. --Todd Morning

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Dutton Juvenile (September 18, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0525479961
  • ISBN-13: 978-0525479963
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (64 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,160,189 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: 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.
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Format: 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.
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Format: 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.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
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.
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