Carrie Soto Is Back

Book Review


Chahat Kapoor

Love. Set. Match. Taylor Jenkins Reid has serviced this one straight into my top 10.  Published on August 22, 2022, this wonderland of words begins to convince readers all around the world they have what it takes to become a tennis player.  What? Like it’s hard?

Carrie Soto is unfiltered, and unapologetically herself.  She started her career in the 80s, and very early in she earned herself the nickname “Battle-Axe” for when she plays she leaves no mercy in her aggressive form.  Soto doesn’t pay mind to the ending handshake, why would be humble to someone you’ve just crushed?  No time for men, no time for herself.  She keeps her eyes on the prize, the titles, the high of the crowds cheering.  Nothing is better than winning.  Nothing!  The only man who was there from the start was her father, Javier.  Being the best tennis player in Argentina, Javier told her from the very beginning that she would be the greatest tennis player the world will ever see.  Not just the greatest women’s player, Carrie would be the player everyone ached to be. 

She certainly proved her father right.  In 1987, she made history by holding the title for the most Grand Slams made by any player.  Fast forward six years later to the 1994 U.S.  Carrie watches Nicki Chan, “The Beast”, the thirty-year-old tie her record.  She looks to her dad as they realize she has to win her title back. 

Reid says in an interview with Buzzfeed that one of her biggest inspirations was Serena and Venus Williams.  She was drawn in by the number of titles Serena had won. That got her thinking.  What does it mean to be the “Greatest of All Time”when is it in your life when the titles and fame become enough?  When is it that the cheering of crowds doesn’t excite you, but makes a pit in your stomach grow?  The author said how fun it was to write Carrie because she does all of the things women are taught not to do. Reid herself says that while writing to her it was so reassuring to write to someone who was so blunt, “It was a breath of fresh air,” states Soto. 

One thing that I like about this is that it shows how the most arrogant people have the most self-doubting thoughts.  Reid from the very start showed us how Carrie’s life focused only on tennis and that started from the very beginning of her life.  She has been training since a little kid.  She grew up hearing about how her father saw how good she was going to be, she had to prove him wrong.  She had to.  Now being a 37-year-old coming out of retirement, Carrie had to learn that her body doesn’t work the way it did when she was at her peak.  She started to, for the first time in her life, wonder about the phrase that never even crossed her mind years ago, “What will I do if I lose?”  Feelings start to show up, realizing she doesn’t live like this anymore, she wanted her girlhood back, it was hers first.  She wished she could act on this. However, she could not.  She had to win to feel that validation she started to resent back in the day. 

It’s not surprising how three books by Reid have made their way to my top 10.  I have read many books to the point where I have no room to put them, and I can say with confidence that Taylor Jenkins Reid is the best author to ever write historical fiction. She pulls the reader to the point when you end the book you have to immediately find your phone and look up is this person real?  How are they not?  Jenkins makes you feel empty, but it’s the best kind because you’re in shock about how good the book is and how you’ll never find a book like that ever again.  Then you find another Taylor Jenkins Reid book and say the same thing!