Every year, 22 men get together once a year to reenact Lawrence Taylor shattering Joe Theismann's leg on Monday Night Football in 1985. They're not close friends and they only see each other this one weekend a year, to work together to reenact this one play as perfectly as possible with the same zeal as Civil War reenactors. It's an absurd and wholly ridiculous premise, but the book fully commits to it and as such, the end result is a surprisingly touching portrait of middle aged manhood and a true and honest examination of modern masculinity.
If you drew a Venn diagram with Literary Fiction Lovers in one circle and Football Obsessives in the other, how many people do you think you would find in the tiny sliver of overlap? Probably not many. But if you happen to be one of those few people that watches NFL football and reads literary fiction (or like me, who reads literary fiction while watching football), The Throwback Special is just the book for you. Here’s a book about 22 men that get together to reenact the play where Joe Thiesmann suffered a gruesome, career-ending injury during a game in 1985. The men hold a lottery to see who will play each position and recreate the scene with authentic gear, down to the sweat bands and athletic tape. Sound quirky? Very. But there is also something hilarious and sometimes touching about their annual ritual. The Throwback Special is a 2016 National Book Award finalist.
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