From Peter's list on characters who are down and out.
Exley’s “fictional autobiography” charts with comic brilliance his struggles with mental illness and alcoholism, his obsession with USC classmate Frank Gifford, the golden boy of college football, whose successes and failures as a member of pro football’s New York Giants, come to be a way for Exley to look past his own inadequacies, so much did he invest in and identify with Gifford as he watched each Sunday from the bleachers of the Polo Grounds. He writes: “Each time I heard the roar of the crowd, it roared in my ears as much for me as him; that roar was not only a promise of my fame, it was its unequivocal assurance.” In fact, it is from the depths of despair that his fantasies helped distract him from, that Exley finds actual fame and salvation in sitting down to write this book. We can all be grateful that he did.
Why should I read it?
What is this book about?
The narrator of this tale is the ultimate unreconstructed male. his primary concerns are booze, sex and the New York Giants. But things go very wrong for him - he drinks too much, he's impotent, and the Giants start to lose. So we follow his trail, through failed marriages, to mental hospital.