Reviews of SWEET: An Eight-Ball Odyssey
"Could pool be the new poker? Sweet tells the real-life story of type-A film executive [Heather] Byer, who... finds unexpected meaning and release in the shabby environs of her local pool hall. The characters are undeniably colorful... Acolytes of the game should enjoy Byer's loving recreations of their smoky, mysterious world."
"[Byer] leads readers into the quirky subculture of the poolroom with its vivid characters and late night tensions."
"One part memoir, one part suspenseful sports writing, Sweet follows Byer's quest to master a difficult and misunderstood game. As she negotiates her way among pool sharks and through league matches and barroom romances, she offers a sharp, savvy perspective on desire, ambition and the galling disadvantage of being a woman determined to play a man's game. And win."
The New York Times
"This take on the world of organized pool couldn't be more vivid. You may learn one or two pool tricks reading Sweet, but even better, you'll get to know Heather Byer. Heather's the book, and a lot more fun than shooting pool."
Elmore Leonard, author of The Hot Kid and Get Shorty
"As she struggles to learn the game, Byer discovers a competitive spirit she didn't know she had; she learns to control her anger and her fear in a tense match; she realizes that she is lonely, sexy, flawed, frightened, more empathetic and trustworthy than she imagined. Her transformation from a painfully bored executive to a mysterious, messy and powerful woman stalking a pool table is irresistible."
The Los Angeles Times
"It's refreshing to see a female protagonist in literature beam with joy via the game of pool... Byer writes with an uncanny narrative style that's both honest and wide-eyed at the world of pool she never knew existed. Whether it's the smoky environs or the obsessive nature of pool players... these details glimmer. This book is so fresh and original... it's as riveting a read as you're likely to find."
Ain't It Cool News
"Sweet is a cool, sexy book, as thrilling and precisely complex as a bank shot that stops the cue ball in perfect position behind the 8-ball. Heather Byer can certainly play, but much more important for our purposes, the lady can write."
James McManus, author of Positively Fifth Street
"In her fascinating memoir, Heather Byer, former New York film exec and 'nice girl from Ohio,' takes us inside pool halls and the odd sharks who inhabit them. They teach, tease, and challenge her and the reader in this highly entertaining and inspiring journey of one woman's determination to make a passing interest a passion."
Elisabeth Robinson, author of The True and Outstanding Adventures of the Hunt Sisters
"Pungent character sketches and lucid accounts of various games constitute Byer's narrative meat, seasoned with a bit of romance and the customary girl-pal. She had entanglements and breakups with pool guys while she changed jobs and apartments. She had a minor adventure in a Mexican poolroom, found a new team based in another New York venue and recovered from a slump. It was all about the manners and mores of obsessive players, about the teasing and fellowship of comrades at the tables and about her rapport with her cue stick."