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On the Line Hardcover – Bargain Price, September 1, 2009

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this able mid-career autobiography, tennis sensation Williams chronicles a childhood spent living the game with her four sisters and determined parents, and the success that followed. Faith, work ethic, and a love of tennis were paramount to the Williams children's upbringing, qualities that saw her through title contests from coast to coast, and then worldwide. Along the way, she's established schools in third world countries and visited "slave castles" on the African coast; she also persevered through the fatal shooting of her oldest sister in 2003. Waylaid briefly, Williams came back stronger than ever, a testament to her determination, sheer guts and game sense of humor. Philosophical nuggets are scattered throughout: "You might think you're in control, but you're never really in control"; "It can be very isolating, very lonely, competing at a high level in an individual sport"; and "Remember, there are so many more important things. This is so small." Besides recapping important matches, Williams also looks at her sponsorships, sportswear line, and romances, but returns again and again to the unbreakable Williams family ties, especially between Serena and her equally successful sister Venus.
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"From the first time I met her, to watching her capture the US Open, Serena has always amazed me with her ability on the court, her curiosity away from it and her overall love for life. Serena Williams is taking her life to an all new level." (Billie Jean King )

"On the court, Serena is the most challenging opponent I've come up against, and off the court, she is a loving sister and a true friend. Serena has been a role model for me and an inspiration. It is difficult to imagine how I would have achieved many of my greatest accomplishments without her in my life." (Venus Williams )

"Serena has dredged deeply into her emotions and those of the First Family of tennis-hopes and fears, aches and triumphs-to craft an exceptional memoir. Ascending from nowhere to the top of the world, she has run an exciting zig-zag course transforming darkest days into bright victories on her way to the International Tennis Hall of Fame." (Bud Collins )

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing (September 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0041T4PU2
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (72 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,162,293 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

31 of 36 people found the following review helpful By kiwanissandy VINE VOICE on July 17, 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
It is an autobiography with plenty of facts and details about growing up poor, her dad learning tennis and then teaching them, her hearing firecrackers in the background as a child and then later to find out they were gang shootings. Those are all things we knew and many times reiterating just the facts gets boring.

I was hoping for more indepth knowledge about how Serena thinks, her loves, future hopes...even some juicy stuff. But none of that is in the book. Even when she talks about the events of 9/11 when she and her family were all flying that day, it reads like a dry gulch rather than the tear gusher that it should be. She refers to past loves as "so and so", there's just not enough details about the private Serena to make this a worthwhile biography. It's all the stuff about the public Serena and then a few tidbits of stuff thrown in where she calls Venus a nerd. But even that doesn't seem like sincere banter.

OK, very light reading, perhap read while sitting in an airport terminal somewhere and then leave for the next person to pickup and read.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Todd and In Charge VINE VOICE on September 14, 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
If you are a fan of tennis, you cannot escape the huge accomplishments of the Williams sisters, and the incredible drive, energy, and success they have achieved both for themselves and for the game in general.

That said, if you have watched many post-match interviews with Serena, you can see that she has a hard shell and a number of self-exculpatory defense mechanisms, which come into play whenever she does not meet the high standards of success she has set for herself.

In short, I have always sensed that she is not all that interested in spending a lot of time in self-reflection, and reading this book has confirmed that sense for me.

While interesting, and an amazing story really, what is missing from this book is a hard analytical look at who Serena is, and what drives her.

Perhaps an autobiography is the wrong place to expect such analysis, and we will have to wait for a biographer to do this right.

Still, if you are looking for a light and uplifting tale of tremendous athletic and personal achievement, you will enjoy this as a quick read. Just don't expect much more (at least, not now).
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13 of 17 people found the following review helpful By C. Cook VINE VOICE on August 2, 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I've followed Serena for years now..and I often wondered about some of the things she did and said. We all heard about her background growing up in Compton and everyone has seen her father and probably her mother or other family members as well at any tournament shown on T.V..

This book--her mini biography..does fill in some of the blanks ...and answers some of the whys and hows of her spectacular tennis life that not only she but also her sister Venus ..and other members of her family have experienced during this rise and fall and rise of her tennis life over the years.

This book is written on such a level --that I would highly recommend it for the younger set of teens ...pre teens. It is squeaky clean throughout....almost too clean for me...but for the masses of fans that are readers out there---I don't think she could of done a better job. All and anyone can read this version of her life.Nothing too deep. Nothing too painful.Nothing too sticky...absolutely nothing to damage a squeaky clean image. All sanitized to the nines.

Lots of talk here about her sister Venus and many other family interactions..and she trys to bring us into her rather small and very closed world as a child ---her whole world seemingly simply playing
tennis..enveloping herself with family and practicing her faith as a Jehovah Witness.She never writes even once of having a overnight with a girl friend or going to a movie with a friend or ever having any interaction or experiences at all with anyone outside of her immediate family--which I find a little disturbing..more so ..because she never mentions--- ever--- the lack of normal relations with other people while growing up.Her story ?? YES !!!!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Ann Allyn Slessman on August 28, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Serena Williams with Daniel Paisner
Grand Central Publishing
ISBN: 978-0-446-55366-7
257 Pages
Reviewer: Annie Slessman

Serena Williams did it...she beat her big sis, Venus, at Wimbledon 2009. In her new book, ON THE LINE, Serena explains that she has always been in the shadow of her big sis, Venus. Although she walks onto the tennis court to win, she loves her sister, Venus, without reservation. So, while she may have won, she still feels sadness for her sister's loss. Such is the lot of Serena. She was raised by parents that kept their children so busy on the tennis courts that they couldn't get into any trouble elsewhere. No idleness in this family.

While mostly we hear of Serena and Venus Williams, their other sisters were tennis players as well. Their father saw to it that every court in their hometown and beyond was filled with William's girls. No formal training under his belt, Mr. Williams had a natural instinct for tennis. He and his wife taught their daughters the art of winning at an early age and it has served their family well in the years following.

The on-court demeanor of Serena Williams does not compare to the young woman who wrote this book. As onlookers, we see the competitive, hard driving woman who never says die. When off the court, Serena is a loving person who not only cares for her family, but her community as well.

This book offers a real insight into a champion. Whether it is pride in her work, pride in her family, pride in her culture...she shines as a good example for children everywhere who have a dream and have the will, tenacity and drive to see it to reality.
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