Friday, May 29, 2009

Out of the Pocket by Bill Konigsberg

Bobby Framingham is the star quarterback at Durango High School and one of the most talented high school football players in California. He's waiting on scholarship offers from big schools and hopes he'll go pro after college. On the field, his teammates are like his brothers. But off the field, he knows he's different - Bobby is gay.
Can he still be one of the guys and still be honest about who he is? And even more, if people knew, could he still get that scholarship? Bobby's not sure. After all, there are no openly gay male atheletes in any of the major college or pro sports. Can he help change that? He doesn't want to be a hero or a poster boy for gay rights - he just wants to play football - but how he handles his istuation will send a big message.
Just like in football, once Bobby's forced out of the pocket he'll have to make a play. He'll have to deal with the changing dynamics of the team and his changing relationships with his friends an family, and accept that his path to success might be more difficult, and more public, than he'd hoped.
(Summary from jacket flap)

Out of the Pocket is a surprisingly readable and relatable take on homosexuality in high school.

And I say "surprisingly" because I'm a cover judger. It looked like it might be a little too boy-ish and manly for me based on the football player and the sky and the black but it wasn't at all. It could appeal to anyone and I think that's the point. How anyone should be able to pick up a book like this and enjoy it.

I actually like the fact that the cover is marketed at guys because I know a guy or two who could stand to read a little more about homosexuality.

One of the things that really impressed me about Out of the Pocket was how realistic it was. Bill Konigsberg wasn't afraid to tackle all of the stupid stereotypes and idiot high school jock guys head on. Jokes, slurs, and crudeness, all included. It added personality and "real-ness" to the football guys and made it even more dynamic when Bobby came out and had to deal with their crap. Nothing was sugar-coated or brushed over. It was all laid out on the table and dealt with in a methodical manner.

I also like the statements that some of the characters made to Bobby.

"Bobby, you're a cool guy. Who cares if you're gay or straight? It's all the same, I mean, either way you love someone. That's all there is to it."

And amen to that.

There were a few tiny things that could have been improved about the book. I wish there had been a little more depth - I would've liked to hear more of Bobby's opinions and thoughts about the events. There wasn't enough of that. I also think that a few of the side characters, like Carrie, would've been fun to learn more about. Their backgrounds and personalities could've been hashed out more.

But overall, I think that this was a solid novel that dealt with a real life issue in a way that's simple and understandable. I applaud the author for that.



  1. Nice review. I think this is something I'll check out. It might be a good way for me to transition into sports novels about football. Currently, I only read sports novels about basketball but I do love a good sports novel and a good coming out story.

  2. This seems like a really interesting book, with from what you say a solid description and no pulled punches attitude one I'll look to follow around and see what others say about it.

    Thanks for sharing


  3. Great review! I loved this book too when I read it last fall. :)

  4. Great review. I've seen this one around and I too judge a lot of books on their covers, but now that I've heard your thoughts...I want to read it even more. Sounds like I might really enjoy it. And I LOVE the quote you posted. So so sooooo true. Amen for sure.


  5. Do you know if he's any relation to E. L. Konigsberg? It doesn't seem like a common name... but her might be burg, not berg... hmm.


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