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"Raiders Night"

Raiders Night? Why not Raiders' Night?

Anyway, Robert Lipsyte's most recent "young readers" sports novel is probably only for "young readers" who are comfortable with a story that includes the abuse of pain-killers and steroids by high school football players, episodes of casual sex between football players and drunk groupies, and a fairly graphic description of an anal rape that's part of a team initiation. There's even a guy who comes into the locker room with a gun.

That's not to say this sort of thing isn't part of high school football...only that "young readers" perhaps no longer means what it once meant. Gone, apparently, are the days of Chip Hilton, boy quarterback.

When we spoke, Mr. Lipsyte, who has made a second career of writing these novels, mentioned that Raiders Night had caused him to lose some of the speaking engagements that he was once able to count on each time he finished a book. Whether that's because the people who uninvited him honestly felt their high schoolers might be contaminated by the content of Raiders Night or because they didn't want an open discussion of drugs, alcohol, casual sex, and obscene initiations is not clear.

Raiders Night is a quick read, and since most "young readers" watch television, the book won't shock them. Which, come to think of it, is sort of a shame.

This program aired on November 25, 2006. The audio for this program is not available.

Bill Littlefield Twitter Host, Only A Game
Bill Littlefield has been the host of Only A Game since the program began in 1993.

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