Book Review: ‘Carrie Soto Is Back’ by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Advantage Soto: A Tennis Triumph

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Book Title: Carrie Soto Is Back
Author: Taylor Jenkins Reid
Publisher: Penguin (Cornerstone)
Number of Pages: 368
ISBN: 978-1804940877
Date Published: Jan. 1, 2023
Price: INR 382

Carrie Soto Is Back by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Book Review

In “Carrie Soto Is Back,” Taylor Jenkins Reid introduces readers to the compelling world of fictional tennis superstar Carrie Soto, adding another gem to her celebrated “Taylor Jenkins Reid Universe.” Taylor Jenkins Reid’s literary success began with her 2017 novel “The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo,” which introduced the life of Evelyn Hugo, a character resembling Marilyn Monroe. Reid’s subsequent works, “Daisy Jones and the Six,” explored the relationship between a singer and a band, and “Malibu Rising” introduced Carrie Soto in a shocking way. Reid’s literary universe is addictive and glamorous.

Carrie Soto Is Back” book begins with retired tennis legend Carrie Soto witnessing a newcomer, Nicki Chan, breaking her record of twenty Grand Slam titles. Soto’s unwavering determination drives her to embark on a gripping journey of reclamation and resilience. Reid’s storytelling prowess ensures a captivating read that will resonate with tennis enthusiasts and a broad audience. This latest addition to her impressive body of work cements her status as a literary powerhouse.

The most captivating element of this novel is the character of Carrie Soto. Initially introduced as an unlikeable and standoffish figure in “Malibu Rising,” Carrie’s personality is consistent throughout the book. Her battles, especially with media criticism of her demeanor on and off the court, are at the story’s heart. Reid masterfully incorporates commentary transcripts and newspaper clippings, revealing the unjust and harsh judgment Carrie endures.

The derogatory moniker ‘The Battle-Axe,’ coined by critical commentators, frequently substituted with ‘The Bitch,’ reflects the double standard in assessing female athletes, as Soto’s male counterparts escape such disparagement. This element of the book mirrors the real-life criticism faced by athletes like Serena Williams during the 2019 US Open, emphasizing the unfair scrutiny of women in sports.

While initially challenging to empathize with, Carrie’s unwavering determination and love for tennis gradually earn her readers’ admiration. Her refusal to downplay her exceptional achievements starkly contrasts many opponents who opt for humility to maintain popularity. Reid successfully navigates the complexities of her character, maintaining Soto’s pride in her accomplishments while underscoring her need for empathy and emotional vulnerability.

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The book is a delight for tennis enthusiasts, as Reid brings every match to life with riveting tension. Her portrayal of Soto’s on-court tactics is mesmerizing, providing insight into the mind of a professional tennis player. Reid makes the sport accessible to non-tennis fans by explaining its rules and strategies in a reader-friendly manner. As you delve into the story, you’ll find yourself hooked on the narrative and gaining a newfound appreciation for tennis.

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