But she’d never let me down before so I was still interested in reading The Singles Game.
I bought a copy last summer and by the time I read it (it was my last read of 2017), I had completely forgotten anything about it except it was about tennis.
Charlotte “Charlie” Silver has always been a good girl. She excelled at tennis early, coached by her father, a former player himself, and soon became one of the top juniors in the world. When she leaves UCLA—and breaks her boyfriend’s heart—to turn pro, Charlie joins the world’s best athletes who travel eleven months a year, competing without mercy for Grand Slam titles and Page Six headlines.
After Charlie suffers a disastrous loss and injury on Wimbledon’s Centre Court, she fires her longtime coach and hires Todd Feltner, a legend of the men’s tour, who is famous for grooming champions. Charlie is his first-ever female player, and he will not let her forget it. He is determined to change her good-girl image—both on the court and off—and transform her into a ruthless competitor who will not only win matches and climb the rankings, but also score magazine covers and seven-figure endorsement deals. Her not-so-secret affair with the hottest male player in the world, sexy Spaniard Marco Vallejo, has people whispering, and it seems like only a matter of time before the tabloids and gossip blogs close in on all the juicy details. Charlie’s ascension to the social throne parallels her rising rank on the women’s tour—but at a major price.
To be honest, none of the summaries of this book do it justice. It makes it sound like it’s all about the tabloids and hot people and glamorous parties and clothes.
This book is much more about Charlie’s journey of self-discovery, of a woman who thought her life was going to look a certain way, only to have to re-evaluate what she wants due to a devastating injury. It’s about perceptions and how things that work for men don’t work well for women.
From the summaries, I assumed we were going to watch Charlie become a self-absorbed jerk and she’d have to find her way back. But Charlie’s focus the whole time is winning and I have to say, it was refreshing to read a book about a heroine so unapologetic about that. She wants to be #1, she wants to get a Grand Slam win, and she knows that she has to make certain changes in her life if she’s going to achieve that.
I was really surprised by the depth of this book. It’s also not written in first person which I cannot tell you how much I appreciated. It allowed some distance but it also gives readers the chance to see the whole picture. And I learned so much about tennis! And the tour! About how hard it is to be a woman on the tour, to have to focus everything on your sport, leaving no room for any distractions, maybe putting off one’s dreams of having a family. About how that’s not the reality for the man AT ALL.
This book ended up being a great way to finish a not-great reading year. I learned a lot and it restored my faith in an author I’d come to depend on. A light read with a little edge.