Tennis Lessons By Susannah Dickey
‘Tennis Lessons’ is Susannah Dickey’s debut novel.
You’re strange and wrong. You’ve known it from the beginning. This is the voice that rings in your ears. Because you never say the right thing. You’re a disappointment to everyone. You’re a far cry from beautiful – and your thoughts are ugly too. You seem bound to fail, bound to break. But you know what it is to laugh with your best friend, to feel the first tentative tingles of attraction, to take exquisite pleasure in the affront of your unruly body. You just need to find your place.
I spent Sunday with my head in this book, only to find out at the end of that it was written by a Northern Ireland author, which I thought was a lovely surprise as I related to the book on so many levels.
The story is a coming of age tale of a young woman trying to find her place in life. It’s seen solely from the woman’s narrative with each chapter being a different year and age. The woman isn’t named in the story, although all her friends and family are, this adds an element of mystery to the story.
The story is blunt and honest and this does make for sometimes tender and surprising in parts. Susannah doesn’t sugar-coat her writing and highlights the momentous times in a woman’s life, her first period, first sexual encounter and the awkwardness and difficulties of being the third friend in a teenage friendship. Her friend’s find her strange, but I never found the character to be strange. I just saw her as an observer in life and the times that we saw her to be her happiest was when she was her best friend Rachael who’s embraced the character’s quietness and quirks.
The story is written with charm and wit and for every dark moment in the story, Susannah added a witty comment to bring the reader back. The story touches on many topics dealing with bullying, relationships and acceptance, all topics that everyone has experienced in life so it was relatable on many topics. One significant scene happens in the story and although the scene is spoken off, from that point on, I found there to be an element of sadness of tale as the character struggled with self-esteem.
I really enjoyed the ending to the story. It wasn’t predictable and the character didn’t ride off into the sunset finally content with her life, but neither is real life perfect so I found it relatable in that respect.
With a stunning cover, this book is a cleverly written and observational story about the trials and dramas of being a woman, ‘Tennis Lessons’ is a honest account of life and the difficulties that we face along the way.
You can buy ‘Tennis Lessons’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.