The Tennis Partner by Abraham Verghese
On the library stacks: Adult Biography
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
Long before he wrote Cutting for Stone, Abraham Verghese, an internal medicine physician and professor, wrote this memoir. This book covers the short period of time in the mid-1990s when Verghese moves to El Paso, his marriage ends, and he strikes up a tennis-centered friendship with one of his medical students.
Verghese noticed David Smith right away. He was a foreigner, like himself, and a little older than the other students. Verghese had heard that Smith once played on the tennis pro tour. Against his better judgment, he asks David to hit balls one night, and their friendship begins. What Verghese doesn't know at the time, is that David was a recovering intravenous drug addict. But their bi-weekly tennis dates ground both men as they struggle through some big changes in their respective lives.
This book is a somber, but well-written account that includes tennis-as-life analogies, Verghese's impressions of the dichotomies of the city of El Paso, the dark world of drug addiction, and reflections on some of his patients, particularly those suffering with AIDS. This book was definitely eye-opening for me, but also heart-wrenchingly sad. I think this book would appeal to readers who are interested in the medical field and/or love tennis. But don't expect this book to be a pick-me-up. It's honest and raw and left me with a tender heart for those who suffer in both body and mind.
5 hours ago