Reviews - What do customers think about One Good Year?
Going For It on Fourth and Long Aug 7, 2007
Finbar Connors plays professional football, but he isn't a millionaire, nor is he a star. Instead he's an aging wide receiver who has caught on as a player-coach with the Centerport Cossacks, a team in the upstart Northeast Football Association, in Larry Gaffney's comedic novel "One Good Year." By using football as a springboard to explore male camaraderie and the anxieties that surround it, Gaffney is able to balance crude humor with a nuanced portrayal of the acceptance of maturity.
A smartass, recovering alcoholic, and used-bookstore intellectual, Fin is a man hoping to reestablish his self-worth in one final season on the gridiron. His teammates are each castaways in their own manner, marooned from the NFL by age, anger problems, and in the case of wide receiver Placebo Washington, "his hobbies: women, cocaine and handguns." The characters bounce off one another well, providing humor ranging from the locker room to Samuel Johnson. Gaffney does a good job of handling the large cast; in was rarely necessary to flip back a few pages to reorient myself, even in the midst of on-field action.
While the locker room provides color, Gaffney is also able to deftly introduce elements of Fin's past to give a fuller sense of the man. The action on the gridiron is contrasted with the athlete's examinations of his failed marriage and fractured family, reminiscences leavened with a ruthless honesty about his own failings.
"Screwing up now would blow my chances to catch on somewhere as a coach, and then I'd have nothing, not even the girl, because no matter how starry-eyed in love two people might be, once the job and the money go out the window, all the colors fade from the rainbow."
When a new romance presents itself, Fin strives to correct his past mistakes while recognizing the increased stakes that age and responsibility have raised around his relationship with a single mother. The result is both sweet and refreshingly mature.
"One Good Year" is Gaffney's first novel. It has the excitement of a lifetime's worth of musings poured onto the page, which makes for a rich reading experience, albeit one that can divide its focus amongst a variety of targets. Fans of his work for FLYMF will find his clean style and sharp humor in abundant supply; everyone else will enjoy getting the chance to read his work for the first time.
Cerebration in the End Zone Apr 19, 2007
A friend recommended this and I really enjoyed it. It's a sports novel generically (mostly football with a bit of tennis), but also a poignant hymn to masculinity in its infinite variety--the variety ranging from burping and beer to some infelicitous gross-outs (that's where it lost one star)to perceptive renderings of the rigors of dating. The author has a wonderful way of expressing himself and one reads less for action than for the comic descriptions of inaction. Read it. It's pretty good.