Monday, June 10, 2013

The Outsider by Jimmy Connors

Tennis player extraordinaire, Enfant terrible or something similar was how the refrain went in the olden days when Jimmy was a Top Ranked Player and what days they were.
In his playing days Connors used to irritate the life out of me, to say I wanted to slap him is an understatement but after reading this fantastic book I want to hug him or at least buy him a drink should he ever come down here to New Zealand.
I started out not at all sure I was going to continue reading past page 20 as the writing voice seemed to be that of a whiney little 10 year old and then I clicked, the voice was that of a 10 year old and then a 15 year old and on it went it was deliberate or a clever ploy suddenly I couldn't put the thing down. As Jimmy recounted his myriad struggles, successes and misadventures one found one`s self simply carried away....
Honest, truthful and full of the Borgs, Nastases and the Everts of his era there is no stone unturned, no story bad enough to not be told, no drink undrunk and no gamble left untaken.
Rising from very humble beginnings but with a smart mouth, good hands and a smart Mom, Connors worked hard for everything he earned and had a lot of fun and a pile of trouble getting it!
The honesty of this book is probably the thing that resonates the most with me, in this age where everything is sanitised like Agassi, Connors doesn`t play that game, his wrong doing is acknowledged and his attempts to put right are humbling to say the least.
At the height of his career you may have thought Connors had the biggest ego possible but a dose of Patti McGuire brought that to heal and really underneath it all Connors is a sweetheart with an amazing story to tell, I laughed and I cried reading this book, talk about a band of happy thieves, the tennis stars of the 70`s rocked it like no others before or after them and in the end they mostly came out living a more upmarket version of our lives.
A great read, full of juicy gossip.... available in Trade Paperback and via the Library System.

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