PAPER LION by George Plimpton
Kirkus Star


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What is the famous young editor of The Paris Review, who did the classic Hemingway interview, doing playing quarterback with the pro Detroit Lions? Simply, Plimpton has a hang-up: he likes to tempt the impossible. In Out of My League he told about how he insinuated his way into a post-season All Star game in Yankee Stadium and, almost completely unqualified, pitched against the best ballplayers of the year. In Paper Lion his enthusiasm is to call signals as quarterback against a mashing onslaught of 300-lb. players. It took him a few years to convince a major team to let him go into training and play some real games with the club, but in 1963 he was allowed in. Fellow players thought it odd that Plimpton, tall and gangly, was always writing in a notebook between plays. When they finally discovered that Plimpton was a literary silkworm and not a carnivore of the gridiron, he had to take his ragging. But stay in training he did, as incongruous as Thurber on Hitler's general staff, and play he did. Amid the smacks, swaks and yawps of the Big Game, he fails hilariously in every play. In one play his 300-lb. opponent Roger Brown just lifts him up, plucks the ball from his clasp and goes for a touchback...Vignettes and cameos of famous Lions players, their pranks and foibles, flesh out the text of the year's most literate sportsbook.

Publisher: Harper & Row