Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Books I've read: Carrie Soto is Back


Unlike most of the world, I was not a huge fan of Daisy Jones and the Six, but I have read another, earlier book by Taylor Jenkins Reid which I enjoyed, so I thought I'd give this one a shot.

It follows the career of Carrie, a tennis player at the the top of her game, holding the record for the most Grand Slams won.  She retires while she's at the peak of her career, knowing she's the best.

But seven years later a hot young player called Nicki Chan is hot on the heels of beating that record and Carrie just can't stand to be beaten.  So rather than let that happen, she comes out of retirement, gets her old coach (her dad) back on board and decides to compete for one last season to try and hold onto her record.

Carrie has always been fiercely determined.  She has a single-minded focus on winning and won't let anything or anyone get in the way of her getting what she wants.  This earned her the nickname Battle Axe when she was on the tour the first time, and no one is that thrilled to see her return.  Especially the sports journalists who don't believe she has a chance against the new generation of players.

But nothing has changed in Carrie's personality during her retirement.  She will still do anything to win.  Even play with the lover she once spurned, Bowe Huntly, a player hoping to make one last splash of his own before retirement.

I really enjoyed this book. The details of the behind-the-scenes world of elite tennis felt authentic and Carrie is a fascinating character in her single-minded pursuit of her goals.  She's not terribly likeable a lot of the time, but maybe you can't care too much about that if you're trying to be the best.  As she fights her way through her final season, you find yourself rooting for her even when she's behaving obnoxiously.  

And she does change by the end of the season.  Maybe not as much as you might hope, but in reality, how much do people ever really change?  Maybe sometimes a little can be a lot.

So I'd recommend this one.

But don't just listen to me.  Here's the blurb:

Carrie Soto is fierce, and her determination to win at any cost has not made her popular.

By the time Carrie retires from tennis, she is the best player the world has ever seen. She has shattered every record and claimed twenty Slam titles. And if you ask her, she is entitled to every one. She sacrificed nearly everything to become the best, with her father as her coach.

But six years after her retirement, Carrie finds herself sitting in the stands of the 1994 US Open, watching her record be taken from her by a brutal, stunning, British player named Nicki Chan.

At thirty-seven years old, Carrie makes the monumental decision to come out of retirement and be coached by her father for one last year in an attempt to reclaim her record. Even if the sports media says that they never liked the 'Battle-Axe' anyway. Even if her body doesn't move as fast as it did. And even if it means swallowing her pride to train with a man she once almost opened her heart to: Bowe Huntley. Like her, he has something to prove before he gives up the game forever.

In spite of it all: Carrie Soto is back, for one epic final season. In this riveting and unforgettable novel, Taylor Jenkins Reid tells a story about the cost of greatness and a legendary athlete attempting a comeback.

1 comment:

  1. An interesting character is more important to a story than a likeable one. At least that's what I think.