cover image Black And White: The Way I See It

Black And White: The Way I See It

Richard Williams with Bart Davis. Atria, $25 (304p) ISBN 978-1-4767-0420-3

The rap on Williams, the sometimes tennis coach and father of Venus and Serena, is that he's fierce, independent, and occasionally inappropriate; in his new memoir, co-written with Davis (Closure), he tries to set the record straight. The book follows Williams' trajectory as a self-made man, from his dirt-poor upbringing in Shreveport, Louisiana, to his Oliver Twist-esque stealing persona as a young tike to various run-ins with the local white racists to his eventual flight to Chicago in a freezing boxcar in a freight train at age eighteen. Angry and ambitious, Williams later ended up in Long Beach, California, where he met Oracene Price, a widow raising three daughters, and married her, fathering Venus and Serena, the future tennis dynamos. Written in candid terms, the book doesn't spare unflattering details regarding the challenges of the author's life, or his attempts to participate in a predominantly white sport, which frequently fueled his hot temper and viper tongue. The adoration of Williams as a son, husband, and father form the emotional spine of this book, particularly when it focuses on his fearless mother or his two gifted daughters who have won the most Wimbledon matches in recent years. Gritty, opinionated, and inspirational, Williams' memoir is a testament to a man's courage, drive, and commitment. (May)