February 02, 2010

Book Report – The Kicker of St John’s Wood

Kicker This report comes late.  Gary contacted me back in the fall and asked if I would read and write a review of his book.  I never thought I would be asked to review someone’s novel, and although shocked, agreed right away.  I had several other things I was reading at the time so it took me a while to get to it, but while on a trip for work in the hotel during the evenings I read it.  It is not a difficult read, in fact, after some of the heavy material I had been reading it was quite a relaxing experience.

The story revolves around a man of Indian descent, raised in London, who finds himself playing NFL football as a place kicker in the not too distant future (2020).  It is a slightly dystopian future in which Political Correctness has run completely amok and the US has basically ceded itself to UN control. It seems as though every conversation in the book starts out with someone proclaiming their ethnicity.  The main character does not think of his race as his most identifying feature, as I am sure most of us do not.  This puts him at odds with the media during interviews and with other people he encounters.   The plot seems simple at first, that the NFL under political pressure to be “more diverse” is going to have a woman hold the ball for a kick during the Superbowl with the goal being gender norming of all pro sports.  The lady they pick is seemingly no more enthusiastic about the choice than anyone else, but she too is under pressure to do this for women everywhere.  After that the plot thickens with a couple of twists I will not share, so as not to spoil the book.  Suffice it to say there are deeper more sinister forces at work and that the first woman in football is soon the least of their problems.

The book deals with the intricacies of relationships, racism, morality, international politics, and intrigue.  My only negative was that the ending was slightly anti-climactic, but I think it was left that way in case there is to be another book. There were a couple of times that I was a little unsure of why we were going where we were going, but if taken from the perspective that Jayesh (the main character) is also searching for something it kind of fits.

The only other thing I can say is that most of the time when reading the book I was struck with how NOT so far fetched a lot of the dialog sounded.

Good book, quick read, I give it a C+.


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