Review by Ceri Wheeldon
Would your life story make interesting reading? Would others want to read about it?
I recently interviewed Tessa Levy, who published her first novel, No One But You, based on her own life story at the age of 86.
Firstly, the fact that Tessa had the motivation to write her book in her 9th decade was inspirational, but having read the book, her life to date has been inspirational too.
The book is a testament to resilience, ambition and loyalty, at a time when young women were not encouraged to be independent or follow their dreams.
As the youngest of six children in a family of Jewish immigrants living in war torn London, Tessa strikes out on her own having lost her mother at an early age, seeking out family in America. She crosses more than just the Atlantic as she challenges cultural and religious divides, and finds love on both sides of the pond, as well as sewing the seeds for a lifelong career.
For me it also highlights how much we can learn from those of a different generation. Meeting somebody in their 80s, we have no concept of the challenges and achievements they have faced in their lives, with far fewer tools and opportunities than we have today.
Would any of our life stories inspire others? If we look back what have we done that has pushed boundaries and challenged perceptions of what others expect us to do? How much resilience have we shown in the face of adversity. Could others learn from our experience?
I do know that friends often suggest that I write a book about my life – it certainly hasn’t been boring! But would it inspire others? Perhaps not.
Tessa on the other hand, shows us just what can be achieved in life, and by challenging herself to write and publish her book in her 80s, also demonstrates that its never too late to achieve something new.
No One But You by Tessa Levy is available in paperback