On the Line by Serena Williams with Daniel Paisner
It doesn’t matter whether you win or lose, it’s how you play the game. Yeah, you never bought into that, either, did you? If it’s all about playing and not about winning, then why have umpires, referees, and judges? Why keep score? And what’s the use of fans frothing at the mouth over every victory?
More precisely, perhaps, it’s not about winning or losing, but about being gracious either way — an attitude personified in the new book ,“On the Line,” by Serena Williams (with Daniel Paisner).
Three years old. That’s how old Serena Williams thinks she might have been when she first picked up a tennis racquet that was almost bigger than she was. Williams says that her father — a self-taught tennis visionary who knew talented players could make big bucks — made slamming a ball seem like fun, which made all the Williams girls want to make a big racket.
At first, tennis lessons were only held a few days a week at a run-down court near the Williams’ California home. After it became obvious that the girls had aptitude and talent, those lessons were expanded to once or even twice a day, every day.
Growing up, Williams says she was a “princess.” As the youngest child, her four sisters doted on her and gave her everything she wanted, including trophies, clothing and money. They were a close family – Williams says that, for instance, because of lack of bedroom space, she rotated bed-sharing with each of her sisters — and they were one another’s biggest supporters.
While early focus was on Venus and the keen talent she exhibited (even though Serena was up-and-coming), Williams says that her father was always quick to point out that there were two future champions in the family: the daughter who was getting lots of press and attention within the circuit… and the baby of the family, who was just as hungry for a win.
In this book, Williams writes about racism in a sport that was once thought to be only for rich white folks. She gives readers a hint about her romantic life and a man whose name she won’t say aloud. She writes about her oldest sister, whom Williams misses terribly. She explains what it’s like to know that your fiercest rival in the match is also the person who went to bat for you all your life. And she writes about the game she lives, loves and almost gave up.
“On the Line” is a delightful book filled with respect, humor, humility, and a sprinkling of well-deserved bragging. For me, the surprise (which may not surprise major tennis fans) is the closeness that Williams feels for her biggest rival and sister, Venus. Watch them go head-to-head on the court, teeth gritted, and you’d think they’re bitter enemies. It’s nice to read otherwise.
If you’re looking for a to-be-continued biography that isn’t loaded with sex, drugs and four-letter-words, this is the one to find.
For tennis fans and non-fans alike, “On the Line” is a big winner.
Alibiby Teri Woods
What would you do if an old friend asked you to lie? Just a little white lie — who would know? One tiny fib is nothing, and it won’t hurt anybody. A little voice in your head says, “Go ahead. Do it.” But something stops you. You know it isn’t the last you’ll hear of this story. This time, you’ve got your friend’s back … but it might mean a knife in yours, later.
And that’s what happened to Daisy Fothergill. One lie is all it took, and in the new book, “Alibi,” by Teri Woods, the cover-up made Daisy go undercover. The break-in was supposed to be quick and simple; the payoff, thousands of dollars and several pounds of cocaine. It should’ve been an in-and-out job, but when the smoke cleared, three men lay dead on the floor and Nard was holding the last gun. He saw big trouble coming.
Sticks was supposed to have been there, watching the window, but he wasn’t, so he felt duty-bound to help Nard out. Nard was a good soldier, and it wouldn’t make the boss happy if one of his best runners sat in prison. Sticks knew a girl who would lie for him, and Nard needed an alibi.
When Sticks offered Daisy two grand to meet with an investigator, she couldn’t believe her luck. Two thousand dollars to say Nard was with her that night? That was more money than she made dancing at the Honey Dipper.
Unfortunately, it was almost the exact amount needed to bury her mother. It was back to the Honey Dipper for Daisy. Detective Tommy Delgado felt sorry for the stripper when he and his partner, Merva Ross, questioned her. Even though he never frequented places like the Honey Dipper, this Daisy looked familiar. Ross thought he was getting soft, but Delgado knew this girl was lying and he knew she needed compassion, not jail time.
But one small lie needs an even bigger one to back it up, and Daisy took notice of the people who were dying to hide the truth. So when $47,000 showed up in her dead mother’s bank account, she took it to cover her backside and ran for her life.
I sat down with this book at 8 o’clock on a Monday night. I was still reading at midnight. Bedtime could wait; I had to know what happened in this fast-paced, can’t-stop-reading book.
“Alibi” is one of those street-smart novels that really gets in your face. Focusing more on the criminals than on the cops charged with catching them, Woods builds the story at just the right pace, never letting us know how things are going to end for the one character we’ve oddly come to care about. Add in a couple of well-turned plot lines, and you’ve got a book that will keep you up all night, too.
Pick up a copy of “Alibi” and hang on to your blankets. This is one novel you’ll want to read in one sitting, from cover to cover.
The Bookworm is Terri Schlichenmeyer. Terri has been reading since she was 3 years old and she never goes anywhere without a book. She lives on a hill in Wisconsin with two dogs and 11,000 books.