In the summer of 1978, I took tennis lessons. The lessons lasted six weeks. I’m pretty sure that was the last time that I held a tennis racket in my hands. It should come as no surprise that I don’t know anything about tennis. I don’t know how to score. I don’t know the difference between playing on hard courts, clay courts, grass courts, or carpet courts. In fact, I had to look up the types of tennis court surfaces to write that last sentence.
Because of my lack of knowledge or even interest in tennis, I would never have picked up this book if it hadn’t been written by one of my favorite authors. Taylor Jenkins Reid has written two of my all-time favorite novels: Daisy Jones and the Six and The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo. Because of my high regard for these novels, I was willing to give this book a try.
I’m very glad I did.
Carrie Soto retired from tennis a highly successful professional player. She was well regarded, but not particularly popular given the intensity in which she approached the game. Her mother died young, and her father — a well-regarded tennis player himself — became her coach. He taught her the ins and outs, the correct way to hold her racket, the tricks of playing exceptional competitive tennis. Carrie brought a dedication to being the best, letting no one get in her way,
But when she saw one of the newer players seemingly filling her retired shoes, she elected to come out of retirement to see if she could finish the season as the number one tennis player in the world once again.
While there is a lot of detail about tennis in the novel, the story is really about the relationship between Carrie and her father, and the importance of having people who love you in your life. Having said that, I will tell you that I LOVED learning about the game of tennis. Reid made the game interesting even to a tried-and-true non-tennis player such as me.
What I like best about Reid’s novels is that the writing style is always unique, and the characters are always unforgettable. Carrie Soto is Back is no exception. This will be one of my favorite books of 2022.