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Chick lit with edge: The Singles Game

The last time I read Lauren Wesiberger I was bitterly disappointed. 

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.

From Goodreads:

singles game

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.

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When Favourites Disappoint: Revenge Wears Prada

A few disclaimers before we begin today’s post. First, I am an avid reader and lover of the genre known colloquially as ‘chick lit.’ I continue to love books by Sophie Kinsella and Marian Keyes and was thrilled to hear that a sequel to The Devil Wears Prada was coming out. Secondly, I loved The Devil Wears Prada the book and the movie. I have read all of Lauren Weisberger’s previous work and remember fondly making my way through Everyone Worth Knowing, sitting in my friend’s parent’s bakery with the most fantastic brownie you have ever tasted. Everyone Worth Knowing is my favourite of Weisberger’s books but obviously The Devil Wears Prada is a classic.

OK. Now that we have those points out of the way, let’s begin.

I just finished reading (a library copy of) Revenge Wears Prada and I hated it. Hated it.

Let me just reiterate that I love chick lit and Lauren Weisberger.

When we last saw Andy, she was on her way to doing her own thing, writing independently, not making any money doing it but she was doing things on her own terms. She had ended things with her seriously unsupportive boyfriend and figuring life out on her own. I related to this Andy. I cheered this Andy on.

revenge prada

Fast forward 10 years and we meet Andy on her wedding day. Her huge, over-the-top magazine-featured wedding. She’s marrying the son of a media dynasty and runs a successful, glamourous Runway-style wedding magazine. Soon she finds herself pregnant and any glimmer had of the old Andy is gone as she weeps at the idea of leaving her new baby and tries to shove her post-baby body into fancy clothes for a party.

The whole time she’s pining for Alex, the ex-boyfriend who didn’t understand why she would spend a year of her life working for Miranda Priestly, even though she kept telling him that it was temporary. She has a good looking, smart, caring husband and all she can think about is what life might have been like if only she had just stayed with Alex. We constantly flashback to life immediately after Runway and are supposed to be thrilled with this new success. And I was. The whole magazine thing was really fantastic. But it was ruined since we spend the entire book in Andy’s head and she just obsesses and overanalyzes everything.

Don’t even get me started on what we’ve done to Emily. Wonderful, hilarious, capable Emily is now married to a serial philanderer, a sleazy reality-tv show producer who barely conceals his many affairs. Originally united by their shared hatred of Miranda Priestly, Emily becomes obsessed with her over the course of the book and constantly tells Andy how she’s overreacting (which isn’t really off base) until she finally totally betrays their friendship.

And I hated that.

Mostly though, I wanted to like this book. I wanted to be delighted by a visit with these characters that I loved nearly 10 years ago. And I felt cheated. And preached at. And oh so disappointed.

Another score for the library though! I’m glad not to have shelled out for this one! I only gave it one star on Goodreads which I think is the lowest I’ve ever rated a book.