Fantasy Life (2013) ESPN's Matthew Berry has dedicated his life to unreality. As a fledgling screenwriter in the '90s, he toiled on low-rated sitcoms and helped pen Crocodile… 2013-07-16 Memoir Riverhead Hardcover
Book Review

Fantasy Life (2013)

TRUE LIFE: I PLAY FANTASY SPORTS Author Matthew Berry's memoir about the world of fantasy sports scores high
TRUE LIFE: I PLAY FANTASY SPORTS Author Matthew Berry's memoir about the world of fantasy sports scores high
EW's GRADE
B

Details Release Date: Jul 16, 2013; Writer: Matthew Berry; Genre: Memoir; Publisher: Riverhead Hardcover

ESPN's Matthew Berry has dedicated his life to unreality. As a fledgling screenwriter in the '90s, he toiled on low-rated sitcoms and helped pen Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles. Slowly he shifted his focus to fantasy sports, a hobby that has grown from a quirky distraction for fringe obsessives to a pastime enjoyed by 13 percent of the country.

Fantasy Life is part memoir and part journalistic recounting of Berry's too-weird-to-be-fake fantasy-related anecdotes. The latter entries are told with chest-bumping zeal, but that tone tends to miss the mark — the guy who used his parents' generator to participate in a draft during a hurricane-induced blackout is presented as a passionate devotee, but mostly comes across as inconsiderate.

The tales away from the virtual field score higher. Berry shares some great tidbits about his life in Hollywood (he has permanent enemies in both Hilary Swank and Paul Hogan). The book won't convert anybody who doesn't already know what PPR is, but Fantasy Life does make the strange alternative lifestyle of the sports nerd into something a little more human. B

Originally posted Jul 17, 2013 Published in issue #1269 Jul 26, 2013 Order article reprints