Friday, July 29, 2011

Review: A Friday Night Lights Companion

edited by Leah Wilson
Smart Pop Books
Writing about A Friday Night Lights Companion is going to be difficult for a variety of reasons, not least of which is the fact that I completely, totally, 100% love this book and it's difficult to put that kind of love in words. But I'll try. The book is a collection of essays on the television show Friday Night Lights. It includes Why We Love... essays on each of the characters, an essay on Coach and Tami's marriage, and an essay on how the unique deal with DirecTV saved the world's best show. And a bunch of other really excellent essays on various aspects of the show.

Typically, this is how it works with anthologies: the pieces within them are a bit hit and miss. Some I won't like, a couple I might love, and the rest will fall somewhere in the meh range. This wasn't like that. This book, from start to finish, whether or not I agreed with everything, was absolutely brilliant. As the one lone Friday Night Lights fan who actually liked the murder plot, of course my opinions didn't always fit with the essays collected, but that's hardly the point. The contributing writers really know their stuff and have written brilliant, in-depth essays on the various aspects of Friday Night Lights. From the heartfelt introduction that made me cry to the role economics and class plays in the show to a look at how DirecTV saved the sinking ship, there's some real insight here. And while much of it (the DirecTV discussion, for instance) is applicable to more than just Friday Night Lights, a lot of it is immersed in the show itself. The marriage of Coach and Tami Taylor, the discussion of the reality of the show, and an essay on its lack of teenage viewers are all very specific to Friday Night Lights. (On a side note, as someone who actually started watching this show as a teenager, I loved the essay on why it never garnered a teenage audience.)

The shorter essays on each of the characters (including Herc!) are funny and mostly spot-on. I say mostly only because we don't all see the characters the same way. However, no matter what you think of certain characters, reading a list of Herc's best quotes and the various reasons we love to hate Joe McCoy is awesome.

For all of my diehard FNL fans, this book is a must-read. Trust me when I say you will not be disappointed. Not even a little bit. The thoughtful reflections on life in Dillon, Texas are not only interesting and compulsively readable, but in many cases thought-provoking. (I want to talk about this book with everyone, but I'm the only one I know who's read it. So, problem. GO READ IT SO WE CAN TALK.) I think you've gathered by now that, like the show itself, I kind of can't recommend this book strongly enough.


  1. I love FNL and am so happy to read a great review about the companion. I just might have to go get it tomorrow - hope it's at the bookstore. Of course once I start reading it, I will want to watch the series all over again. Thank goodness for DVDs.

  2. I just have to say, I liked the murder plot as well. Great acting through that storyline that just made me feel closer and fall in love with Landry and Tyra as characters.

  3. Actin' Up with Books
    OMG READ IT READ IT READ IT!!! It was supposed to come out Aug. 2nd, but I think it's out early. Amazon has it in stock at least. READ IT OMG.

    YES EXACTLY THANK YOU!!! I've heard people say that the story "ruined" Landry's character, but to me I thought it just pushed Landry and Tyra so much more into the spotlight and gave them more depth. Showed that Landry wasn't just a comic sidekick and I think it really had a lot to do with Tyra's growth throughout the series too. YAAAYYY!!!

  4. As the person who wrote the essay on Coach and Tami Taylor, I thank you. I am flattered and tingly reading this. I AM.

  5. jonniker
    OMG congrats on being part of such a fantastic book and writing such a fantastic post! Clear eyes, full hearts, can't lose. :)