Saturday, January 21, 2017

#14: The Penalty Area by Alain Gillot

A washed-out soccer player tries to put the pieces back together by coaching a youth squad, but the appearance of his wayward sister and his nephew opens up old wounds in Alain Gillot's The Penalty Area.

We find out quickly the nephew has undiagnosed Asperger's Syndrome, which plays out in an uncanny ability to read soccer defenses.  The coach tries him out as goalkeeper, helping build their relationship as well as not coincidentally helping out a hard-luck team.  A friendly psychiatrist with her own baggage offers a love interest.

This French novel reads much like Nick Hornby's work, such as About A Boy, and is the sort of feel-good family relationship story that is ready-made for a movie version.  It is a slight but at times emotionally engaging read.

I checked this out from the Morrisson-Reeves Public Library in Richmond Indiana and read it quickly.

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