by Dan Jenkins
In reading stuff by Dan Jenkins, I have the impression that he has the independence to write for himself and not the reader. He does exactly that in his 1972 effort, SEMI-TOUGH. SEMI-TOUGH is the story of Billy Clyde Puckett and Marvin “Shake” Tiller, two good ol’ boys from Texas who grew up together, played football at TCU together, and matriculated to the New York Football Giants together, along with their lifetime pal, Barbara Jane Bookman.
Written from Billy Clyde Puckett’s first person point of view, while Billy Clyde writes the book you’re reading, SEMI-TOUGH is a sports book I suppose, but its scope is larger than that.
You can like football and hate this book, or you can hate football and like this book, or you can read the thing and love it for what it is: a totally irreverent peek at a bunch of stuff that shouldn’t be taken seriously, like life it’s ownself.
SEMI-TOUGH is a raunchy, sexist, racist, lewd, and tightly written, delightfully offensive story of friends against the world. It is also honest, and that is probably its major sin. Jenkins pulls no punches. The result is a laugh out loud, gloriously unrepentant look at professional football that, in many ways, is still valid today.
This book is funny! Do yourself a favor. Throw your version of political correctness out the window and join them good ol’ boys from Dallas-Fort Worth as they take on the Big Apple. You’ll have fun and possibly discover some truth. Maybe veal picata really is only screwed up chicken fried steak.
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