Billie Jean King will join the L.A. Times Book Club Aug. 24 to discuss “All In,” a new memoir about her groundbreaking tennis career and battles for athletic and social equity.
King writes about growing up in Southern California, the daughter of firefighter dad and homemaker mom who sold Tupperware and Avon to pay the bills.
Her memoir takes readers from the public tennis courts of Long Beach to center court at Wimbledon to the epicenter of her lifelong fights for women’s rights and fairness.
“King survived some dangerous riptides while winning 39 Grand Slam tennis event titles,” says sports columnist Helene Elliott. “She caused more than a few ripples too, and carried the weight of representing an entire gender when she faced aging huckster Bobby Riggs in the made-for-TV “Battle of the Sexes” exhibition match in 1973.
“King helped organize the first women’s professional tennis tour and founded the nonprofit Women’s Sports Foundation, which increases opportunities for women and girls in sports.”
In “All In,” King writes about being outed as a lesbian and seeing corporate sponsors desert her “overnight.” She couldn’t tell her parents she was gay until she was 51.
“It’s no wonder an early draft of King’s detailed, accessibly conversational autobiography, ‘All In,’ topped 800 pages before her editors persuaded her that she couldn’t mention every friend she’d ever made,” Elliott says. “She reluctantly trimmed it by about half.”
“All In” is the August selection of the L.A. Times Book Club. In September, the newspaper’s community book club will be reading Jaime Lowe’s “Breathing Fire: Female Inmate Firefighters on the Front Lines of California’s Wildfires.” On Sept. 28 Lowe will be in conversation with Times columnist Erika D. Smith.
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This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.