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Carrie Soto Is Back Bets On...

Carrie Soto Is Back

September 2022

I started reading CARRIE SOTO IS BACK when I was on vacation. Taylor Jenkins Reid has the ability to draw me into a great story quickly, and I knew this was the perfect time to get away. Let me start by saying that I knew very little about tennis going into this. Sure, I had hit a bit when I was younger, but I never took it seriously or watched it on TV. I was aware of the majors and when they happened, but I wasn’t familiar with most of the names except for the big ones (yes, Serena among them). So, with the U.S. Open on the horizon, I was ready to drop into Taylor’s tale about tennis.

Carrie Soto is wickedly competitive. She is also 37, and her body feels it. She has been out of competition for a while. But when she hears that her record of Grand Slam wins is about to be broken by Nicki Chan, she mobilizes, literally, and gets back to training. Her dad is her coach (I see the Serena parallels, too), so he starts working on a practice schedule for her and watching tapes of her competitors, many of whom are much younger. He was a tennis great who moved to the United States from Argentina. If anyone knows what it would be like for her to come back, it’s him. But the media is not so quick to champion Carrie. Her hardened attitude through the years of winning at any cost, and not being gracious in defeat, has turned many off. Still, with all this against her, she plugs away.

Carrie starts to play hard again and lines up her schedule to participate in the majors until she secures her record. As she does this, Taylor Jenkins Reid (somehow her name is such that one says all three words) taught me about tennis. Which is amusing since she was not well acquainted with the sport before she started writing. But she walks Carrie through hitting practices, hitting partners and the strategy of tennis, and it sunk in. Yes, there is the story of a woman in here, and that is very well done. But I am amazed that I read a novel that made me want to watch the U.S. Open, and I actually knew what was going on. The behind-the-scenes look at tennis through Carrie’s eyes gave me an interest in the sport.

And yes, there are some little Easter eggs in the book about a couple of favorite characters, but I will leave those for you to find.

My one quibble: There is a lot of Spanish dialogue between Carrie and her father without any English translation. I was summoning up my high school/college Spanish classes, but still I was lost. And I do not think it’s just because my friends and I would drink Tequila Sunrises instead of going to Spanish class. I would have liked a translation.

Our Editorial Director, Tom Donadio, is a huge tennis fan. Last weekend, we were texting during the semifinals and finals of the U.S. Open. He has informed me that matches for the Australian Open, which starts in January, begin in the evening here on the East Coast and don’t end until the wee hours of the morning. We just may have to rejigger our work schedule for those couple of weeks.

I am hitting this one your way, folks. Volley back by giving CARRIE SOTO IS BACK a read.

Carrie Soto Is Back
by Taylor Jenkins Reid

  • Publication Date: August 30, 2022
  • Genres: Fiction, Women's Fiction
  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books
  • ISBN-10: 0593158687
  • ISBN-13: 9780593158685