Book Review: Tennis Lessons


Title: Tennis Lessons
Author: Susannah Dickey 
Publication Date: 2020
Publishing House: Doubleday

This is the first book in my Irish regional literature project. I love finding books while on adventures that mean something to the place. In Darry we stumbled upon a wonderful used book shop and the proprietor was more than happy to make suggestions. In regards to this book, he mentioned that he had taught the young woman that wrote it and thought it was quite good. With that adorable earnestness, I had to bring this book home with me. I was also excited to find a newspaper clipping tucked in the back of the book about the author.

Goodreads Synopsis:

This is the voice that rings in your ears. That worries you never say the right thing and you’re probably a disappointment to your parents. That you’re a far cry from pretty – and your thoughts are ugly too. It says no one will ever like you just as you are.

But you know what it is to laugh with your best friend until your stomach hurts, to feel the first delicious tingles of attraction, to take exquisite pleasure in the goriness of your ingrowing toenail.

There is a place for you out there. You just need to find it.

TENNIS LESSONS is the unflinchingly honest story of one misfit and her uncertain journey to something like happiness. Stopping by each year along the way, she navigates disastrous dates, dead pets, crashed cars, best friends and lost loves. Susannah Dickey reminds us that we’re all a bit weird. And that’s just fine.

This is an odd book for a couple of reasons:

  1. The book is written in second person.
  2. The main character has no name.

This is a coming of age story where the reader is the main character it is odd and fascinating and disconcerting all at once.

This story is told in moments and each section is headed by a month and an age. It reminds me of remember embarrassing moments from when I was a child, life in flashes of things that meant something. This book is a patchwork of darkness and learning mixed with bright laughter and friendship. The pictures are not perfect but they create a whole picture, a whole person. This book does have some jokes and colloquial language that, being from the U.S., I did not understand completely. However, that disconnect doesn’t make a big difference in the grand scheme of the story.

I suggest this book for those that enjoy coming of age literate, those that enjoy regional literature, and those that enjoy reading a story that is a bit unconventional. Have you ever read a book written in second person? If so, what did you think? Let me know in the comments. Happy reading!

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