Set in southern Ohio, Third and Long is a story of small-town life, second chances and football. But don’t let the football part deter you if, like me, you’re not a fan.
Bob Katz gives the job of narrator to the town itself. This put me in mind of cozy setting akin to “The Brick” from Northern Exposure and I heard the voice of Holling Vincoeur as I read.
Third and Long is a joy to read because the narrator is frank and self-deprecating (“He’d attended private schools in Connecticut, which we took to be somewhere near Europe”), and the writing is so vivid (“The stepmom reputed to have the olfactory acuity of a narcotics squad dog”). I found myself re-reading lines and passages over and over just to savor the writing.
Katz had me rooting for the characters and the town and he did not disappoint in the end.
Not only would readers enjoy this book, I think it would make an excellent text for use in high school English classes. High school football is a main focus of the book, making it easy for students to relate. The writing is impeccable, and the setting, plot, characters and resolution would make for good classroom discussion. The only pitfall teachers would encounter is some drug use described in the book.
Disclosure – I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.