Sunday, April 6, 2014

"It's odd, ain't it, how full up empty places can be?"

knights of the hill country by tim tharp

After reading The Spectacular Now last year, I knew that I would check out another Tim Tharp book before long. This week, I finally got around to it. My selection? Knights of the Hill Country (2008). Why? Because everything gets 17 percent better when you tie sports into it. It's science, bitch. John Mellencamp's Small Town became even better when used in a basketball mixtape. This movie about racial divide became inherently better because of football.

By the way, Hayden Panettiere (Sheryl Yoast) became this bombshell. Nice.

Hampton Green is a star linebacker in a small Oklahoma town. As his Kennisaw Knights are in the midst of their fifth consecutive undefeated season, Hampton is at a crossroads: college is looming, and so life in the shadow of his overbearing best friend and cut-throat team mate Blaine Keller will soon come to an end. As Hampton starts to figure out what kind of man he wishes to be, he finds out a thing or two about loyalty, friendship, and how great legends often don't tell the whole story.

I have to admit: I'm a sucker for small-town settings and coming of age narratives, so there was little Tharp could have done wrong. Hampton Green is a pretty prototypical sympathetic character, but you quickly develop affinity for him and his withdrawn thoughts about family, friendship, girls, and being remembered. The plot is rather straightforward and, all in all, relatively uneventful, but Knights of the Hill Country has a wonderful message to it and worth checking out for that reason alone.

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