Book Reviews

Review: Carrie Soto is Back by Taylor Jenkins Reid

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I’m so caught up in Queen Elizabeth’s death that I forgot to post this earlier today.

My Interest

I’ve enjoyed previous books by this author–especially Daisy Jones and the Six, so when I heard this one was coming out, I knew I’d read or listen to it. Tennis is fine–I’m not a huge sports fan, but I was a little worried about how I’d do with that part of the story.

The Story

“We live in a world where exceptional women have to sit around waiting for mediocre men.”

“One of the great injustices of this rigged world we live in is that women are considered to be depleting with age and men are somehow deepening.”

“Luckily, I did not need to be pretty. My body was built to wage war.”

Carrie Soto, daughter of a South American tennis champion turned club pro, is raised on the public tennis courts. Her father, Xavier, brings her up to love the game and to play it at the highest levels. The hard work pays off–she is the GOAT–the “greatest of all time” in tennis. She leaves the game. Now she’s attempting a comeback–at almost age 40 she is competing against another generation of would be-GOATS, some of whom have changed the game–just as she did in her day. Can she do it? Meanwhile, men’s champion Bowe Huntley, is also attempting a come-back. He and Carrie were briefly an “item” in the tabloids years ago. Can the “battle axe” (as the press dubbed Carrie) and Bowe make it back to the top of their game?

My Thoughts

Taylor Jenkins Reid delivers in this book. While I DID, sadly, find some of the description of the matches Carrie plays to be tedious, the author’s command of her characters kept me interested overall. I loved Xavier–a good man, a good father, a brilliant coach. Who wouldn’t win with him at the helm of a career? Bowe, too, came across as likeable even if he was portrayed as a lot like John McEnroe. Unfortunately, I never really warmed up to Carrie herself. I admired her determination. I liked that she respected her father in s….[No Spoilers]. But she was not very likeable.

That this book was mostly set in an era when I was aware of tennis helped. I thought of McEnroe throwing his tantrums, the young phenom Tracey Austin with the two-handed backhand, Chris Evert, Billie Jean King, and so many others.  I loved the tongue-in-cheek reference to another of the author’s books worked in as Carrie’s reading material! I love things like that. I loved what Xavier and Bowe did.

Whether or not you are a tennis fan, this is a good novel–very compelling. I already wonder who will play Carrie in the movie that is sure to come of it.

And, how fun that Patrick McEnroe was one of the performers on the audio version?!

Note: “The perfect creases” in her tennis skirt? I think the word Reid was searching for was “pleats.” Odd.

My Verdict

4 Stars

 

Carrie Soto is Back: A Novel by Taylor Jenkins Reid

My Review of Other Books by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Malibu Rising

Daisy Jones and the Six

12 thoughts on “Review: Carrie Soto is Back by Taylor Jenkins Reid

  1. I loved Daisy Jones but haven’t gotten around to reading any of Reid’s other books. This sounds like a good one. I’m not a tennis player but I grew up in the era of all the players you mentioned. Thanks for your review!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Yes, you can’t really fall in love with Carrie. You can admire her, and in the end you do get to like her a bit, but there are things about her that just aren’t lovable, and that is the main reason why it also didn’t get 5/5 stars from me. (The tennis descriptions didn’t bother me, as much as they seemed to have bothered you.)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ll probably give this one a miss. I enjoyed Daisy but Malibu not so much (felt like Reid was following a formula and applying different themes – music/ acting and surfing/ tennis).

    Perfect creases 😂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ve never played tennis and could never understand the scoring process. However, I have great admiration for those who excel at it. I just don’t know if I want to read this novel even after reading your great review. I read Malibu Rising and my problem with it was the subject matter: wealth, adultery, family relationships, drugs, destruction of others’ property, and I guess I could go on and on. Just got tired of it all. I’m not saying it wasn’t well -written, it was the subject matter. It’s the only novel by Reid that I’ve read so maybe I should give her another chance.

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