Peter Gent R. A. Higgins - Essay

R. A. Higgins

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

Peter Gent, former offensive end for the Dallas Cowboys and author of North Dallas Forty, has written another novel about professional football [Texas Celebrity Turkey Trot]. It has the interest of any inside look written by someone who knows what he is talking about. Who but a professional football or basketball player would think "real people are tiny?" Gent is not just another athlete turned author. He has real talent. His novel is very funny, if your tolerence for jock humor consisting of scatology, crude sex and good-natured racial slur is high, but there is more here than just another knockabout vehicle for Burt Reynolds.

Gent's real subject is the problem that plagues professional athletes, which he himself solved by becoming a novelist—what do they do when they are too old or hurt to play?… The book deals with [Mabry Jenkins's] attempt to cope with his situation by jet-setting, doing a disastrous Tank McNamara stint as a radio talk show host, and taking part in inane "celebrity" events like the one of the title, in which the participants run carrying live, full-grown tom turkeys.

Gent is a connoisseur of pain. He knows as much about bones and muscles and their problems as a surgeon…. A professional athlete can easily come to feel that he is a superior being. He has to learn that he is only flesh, and more vulnerable than most because of the chances he takes….

R. A. Higgins, in a review of "Texas Celebrity Turkey Trot," in Best Sellers (copyright © 1979 Helen Dwight Reid Educational Foundation), Vol. 38, No. 10, January, 1979, p. 298.