I’m obsessed with chick lit. No matter what I do, no matter how many serious novels I’m reading (right now, I’m working my way through the 900 pages of Vanity Fair), a chick lit book always feels like coming home.
So when I found After Wimbledon by Jennifer Gilby Roberts, I was just dying to read it. And thank God I did.
Lucy Bennett, who is very much like Becky Bloomwood, is a tennis-pro who is prepping for Wimbledon, but really considering retirement. However, her one-night-stand-turned-boyfriend Joe does not want her to retire and most definitely does not want any of her post-retirement plans (house, marriage, babies,…). And then there’s Sam, one of the best tennis players in the world, the rival of Lucy’s boyfriend and the only person who thinks Lucy is not an idiot for wanting to retire.
So who does Lucy trust? And is retirement really a good option when she’s only 28? These are the main themes in the book, though there are a few small curveballs in the plot.
Lucy is funny and endearing and as a reader, you really want her to be happy. Joe is the perfect asshole boyfriend you want her to leave and Sam is a modern day Prince Charming.
It’s a chick lit, so the plot can be expected, but that’s what makes this book so good. There are no really unexpected turns (except maybe one towards the end), no big character developments, everything happens exactly as the reader wants it to happen.
However, unlike the many chick lits that have given me a headache, this book is actually written well. Jennifer clearly knows how to make the reader connect with Lucy and how to portray Lucy’s humor on page (and not just with saying “oh Lucy, you are so funny”). But don’t take my word for it, read a little passage from the beginning of the book – so completely spoiler free: “This isn’t the type of thing we normally talk about. Joe and I have what I think of as an emotionally open relationship. In a traditional open relationship (oxymoron?), you are emotionally intimate only with each other and sleep with anyone you want. In our case, we are sexually exclusive but have your deep and meaningful conversations with other people. That is, assuming Joe has any at all.”
That last sentence? That’s the kind of sentence that makes me laugh out loud in bed.
I was a bit worried that After Wimbledon would be too much about tennis for me, because I hate tennis and can’t stand watching it or hearing about it. But, even though tennis is a huge part of the plot, no knowledge of tennis is required nor are there any long reports about tennis matches. It’s about Lucy and her career and men – not the technicality of tennis.
After Wimbledon is not groundbreaking chick lit, such as a Bridget Jones’ Diary was, but it’s a fun read and I think it’s perfect for the summer that’s coming. Grab a drink, sit outside (preferably on a beach) and this book is your perfect companion.