BOOK REVIEW – SCOTBALL BY STEPHEN O’DONNELL

Stephen O’Donnell’s first book Paradise Road was well received on its release last year. His latest novel, Scotball, is a follow up from his first publication, although the main character is now Peter Fitzpatrick, who played a lesser part in Paradise Road. This is another Celtic fiction book and it is a highly amusing read.

Returning from Prague with his new Czech wife, Lenka, Peter has no desire to return to the dull monotony of life in Kirkintilloch and his previous job in the financial sector in Glasgow city centre. Life has changed since he left for Europe and Peter returns to find the financial sector in difficulty, Scotland wrestling with itself re the forthcoming independence referendum and Scottish football in total crisis, with the ruination of a certain famous club from Glasgow’s south side.

However, Peter has a great desire and he doesn’t want for ambition. Returning from Prague has taught him two things; how better Czech lager is and how better the Czech football analysts are on television and radio. He despairs of the dull football panel talk shows, so common in Scotland, and with a huge piece of luck, he gets a break and starts his own television show – Scotball. Life is about to change for Peter Fitzpatrick. Both personally and professionally.

I won’t spoil the story or outcome by divulging any more but this book is full of witty observations on Scots’ life today (Specific Quay, Radio Kelvin, etc…) and it touches on the delicate topics of religion, nationalism, politics and life in general. As was the case with first book, there is a definite Celtic slant, especially with the main character which, naturally, makes him easier to empathise with.

This is an enjoyable, easy to read book, written in the Glasgow vernacular. It would make a terrific Christmas present for the Celtic fan in your life, so do them a favour and put it in their Christmas stocking on December 25th.

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