A gift for Valentines Day or even Easter? A review of The Tailgate Knight Rises
The Tailgate Knight aka Adam,has been a regular contributor over the last season with his NFL Spread tips as well as giving us an interview. Last year we reviewed his first book, Tailgate to Heaven and in time for the last season he brought out his second book, The Tailgate Knight Rises, a follow up to his tailgating adventure described in Tailgate to Heaven [TtH]. If you are looking for that something for your football mad other half or even just for a friend, here is my review (finally) of The Tailgate Knight Rises [TKR] by Adam Goldstein.
The book follows a similar format to Adam’s first book in that it is set out as a game of football, split into the pre-game, the quarters and the post-game. I really like this fun format, it gives the book a full immersive football feel to it and gives you a nice clear indication of where you are at in the book, as I read this on my kindle I find this a bit more helpful than just the percentage completed at the bottom of the page. Not that I wanted the book to end but it did mean I knew when I was inevitably going to run out of book.
TKR is in someways similar to TtH in the way Adam writes about the game days and his general experience at each game or tailgate. It is written in the personal travel journal style and actually focuses more on his trip. The book is all about when Adam actually travelled as a tailgater on a converted American School bus, covering college and NFL games. He starts in the pre-season out at the Hall of Fame game in Canton and finishes, well back in London, in an ending I think he would have rather not had. He basically had quite a road trip and the book really does focus a lot on the food (and this is a very good thing) as well as his own experiences as a tailgater. He does not hold anything back and really shares his feelings and thoughts, the roller coaster of them that he experiences. It is a harsher adventure, the tone has a bit more of a raw edge to it, possibly by the greater financial and some extent personal constraints he undertook the trip with.
TKR does start with an introduction into football and especially the culture of tailgating. The first half follows this anthropological study style of writing, with some lovely insights what it means to tailgate, what it means to be a superfan of a team and the differences between the College game and the professional game. There are moments where I could easily see Adam being able to complete a PhD or some anthropology/sociology research into tailgating and the culture around it and how it relates to the game. His observations of how people interact and behave before and during the games is really interesting. As are the bits which focus on beer pong. This was very interesting especially how seriously it is now played that it has moved on from beer to competitions where it is only water in the cups. His insights into the characters and the types of people he met are interesting and sometimes very astute.
I loved the attention to the food and his record of how many buffalo wings he ate in a week. Do not read this book hungry, as it will only make you want to pile on a huge plate of ribs, steak and other meat orientated dishes.
The second half of the book took on a different tone, and this (without giving anything away) is more to do with some of the difficulties and, shall we say, social tensions Adam experienced on his. There is occasionally a bitter edge, though he does always try to take the edge off with a bit more a positive reflection and the book ends with what happened after his tailgate road trip came to a somewhat abrupt stop. It became a more biographical account of how football and his life continued to blend into more than just something he enjoyed to watch. It also covers the trials and tribulations of getting TtH published and getting TKR published. As such it became not so much about the game and the food but about Adam’s on experience of the, for want of a better word, other hoopla that surrounds the sport, such as the merchandise, the media, the Superbash e.t.c.
Similar to how I felt about the end of Tailgate to Heaven, the Tailgate Knight Rises, does seem to rush on a bit and is not as tight in style as the beginning, but unlike TtH I do not think this necessarily detracts from the book as it really does feel like it is the words of someone tired after a long journey, albeit one they really enjoyed and I think could not quite believed happened. And like TtH, Adam’s love for the game and the Bears especially shines through and makes you want to watch a game right there. It is a book that is definitely Offseason Fuel. I do hope that Adam gets voted into PFUFA, to me two trips and two books written with such passion for the game I think makes him an ultimate fan, of the sport.
OK, so sometimes the text did not flow so smoothly and there were moments where the story felt vague but overall, a very enjoyable read and definitely one to consider for the football crazy person in your life (even if that person is you).
It is available to download as an ebook on Amazon.