After six years of associating the title Friday Night Lights with television’s fictionalized Dillon, it is finally—and unexpectedly—time to go back to Odessa. Without any advance fanfare, author H.G. “Buzz” Bissinger has penned After Friday Night Lights, a sequel to his classic, Friday Night Lights: A Team, A Town and a Dream.
The 1990 book about the Odessa Permian Panthers and Texas high school football is the story that began it all. It was turned into Peter Berg’s 2004 film (which was still set in Odessa) before transmuting into the beloved TV show (which may now transmute into another film itself).
After Friday Night Lights comes out Thursday via Byliner, the e-book specialists who also put out Jon Krakauer’s Three Cups of Deceit, the full-length version of Taylor Branch’s college football exposé The Cartel, and countless other works of original long-form journalism and short fiction.
The sequel tells a single story: that of Bissinger’s 25 year relationship with James “Boobie” Miles, who was simultaneously one of the original book’s biggest stars and its most heartbreaking figure. Bissinger says that his relationship with Miles is “the most lasting legacy of Friday Night Lights, or at least the legacy I care about most.”
“After Friday Night Lights” follows Boobie through the dark years he suffered after his injury right up to a present that is imbued with a new kind of hope. It is the indelible portrait of the oddest of enduring friendships: that of a writer and his subject, a “neurotic Jew” and a West Texas oil-field worker, a white man raised in privilege and a black man brought up in poverty and violence, and a father and his “fourth son.” Their story encompasses the realities of race and class in America. And reveals with heartbreaking accuracy how men rise again after their dreams are broken.
Byliner has also posted a brief excerpt. Writes Bissinger:
…we shared a year in our lives that forever changed us and created a bond that, no matter how elasticized, will never break. It is the most lasting legacy of Friday Night Lights, or at least the legacy I care about the most. Which is why I’m driving on Farm Road 1788