Carrie Soto is back! When she retired five years ago at the age of thirty-two, she held the record for winning the most grand slam tournaments. Now the current tennis wunderkind, Nicki Chan, has tied her record, the one that has defined her legacy. And Carrie wants it back after having sacrificed everything to gain it. That means coming out of retirement, returning to the brutal training discipline and competing with a younger and talented crop of new players and winning one more.
the heart of the story…
To understand Carrie’s decision, it is important to know who she was during her heyday. I found it instructive and she clearly earned her reputation and “Battle Axe” moniker. I struggled initially because she not only was unlikable to tennis fans but to me as a reader. Her father, Javier, raised her alone following her mother’s death when she was very young and he was her coach for most of her career. But somewhere along her journey my feelings about her shifted as I did come to understand her drive, the obstacles she faced and how she’d been hard wired. She reminded me so much of the young Martina Navratilova who was so unpopular for years even though she was an outstanding champion. Carrie also grew emotionally as she grappled with her own physical limitations and maturation. It was subtle and gradual, making me feel what she was experiencing and respect her as an athlete.
My goodness, the audio version is a work of art with a full cast narration and dramatic effects. I knew this going in but was unprepared for the outstanding production. If you have the option, select the audiobook.
the bottom line…
The story timeline is from the late 1980’s through the mid 1990’s when the environment for women’s sports lacked enlightenment. I appreciated the wide range of issues that entailed, which were incorporated into all of Carrie’s layers. She’s one of the most complex fictional characters I’ve encountered and that just made this a more intellectual experience. I like tennis and am not a diehard fan but loved all the tournament play-by-play. There’s no need to worry about that aspect. Just immerse yourself in those moments and feel what Carrie felt. As I neared the end, I was unclear about what outcome I wanted for her, which surprised me. That’s just great character development and storytelling.
- Release Date: August 30, 2022
- Narrators: Stacy Gonzalez, Mary Carillo, Patrick McEnroe, Rob Simmelkjaer, Brendan Wayne, Max Meyers, Reynaldo Piniella, Vidish Athavale, Tom Bromhead, Heath Miller, Julia Whelan & Sara Arrington
- Audio Length: 10 hours, 30 minutes
- Publisher: Random House Audio
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(Thanks to Libro.fm and Random House Audio for my complimentary copy. All opinions are my own.)