Thanks to some online reading challenges, a virtual book club I join every week and just getting sick of looking at my bookshelves sagging, I have been trying to read some older books provided to me but for one reason or another (none of them good) never bothered to read. This one is one of those to try to break that rut – and it turned out better than I thought. Here is my review of “We Average Unbeautiful Watchers”
“We Average Unbeautiful Watchers” by Noah Cohen
Baseball, Football (American), basketball, history, politics, race, feminism
July 1, 2019
4 of 5 stars (very good)
Most scholarly books on sports topics, no matter what they be, tend to be books that must be read slowly and methodically in order to fully appreciate the research and crafting that the author does to get his or her message across. That is not the case for this book on the expression of sports fandom by Noah Cohen. While the language is still typical for this genre, it is a book that is fairly easy to digest and can be read much quicker than most of this style.
I believe the reason that this book can be read easier is the subject matter. It sounds complicated but the way it is broken down by Cohen, it makes perfect sense. Fans of sports are more than casual observers – they are writers and creators of stories themselves and by doing so they are building a sense of identity.
The first two chapters bring this out beautifully when describing baseball stories as ones that may lack some factual items but are rich in narrative and the connection between some football fans and mental illness. Cohen uses previously produced media – books, movies, blogs and the like – to illustrate how fans are actually just as much a part of sports media as the “writers” who cover athletes and team are. I especially liked finding new sports fiction titles to add to my reading list and discovering some books I never knew existed, such as “Silver Linings Playbook.” Having seen the movie but not realizing there was a book was a treat – that book may be reviewed here soon.
All the socially relevant topics covered – racism, feminism, identity to name just a few – are all portrayed fairly and opinions are backed up with citations. A reader may not agree with everything Cohen states, but regardless, that reader will now be much more informed on the subject than beforehand. These topics and writing style may not be for everyone, but for a different look at sports fandom, this is a book well worth checking out.
I wish to thank University of Nebraska Press for providing a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
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