The preliminary reviews for this novel were arguably contentious. There were some who called this Ms. Reid’s most emotional work, while others say it missed the mark. I doubled down on my devotion to this author’s writing by purchasing the book in hardcover, and I’m ultimately glad that I did. I’m convinced I will have every one of her published novels on my real-life bookshelf in due time.
To be honest, Carrie Soto is not a likable character. Not in the beginning at least. But she is relatable. She’s human, with flaws and an undeniable fiery passion that sets up the progression of the story perfectly. As Carrie herself has stated in her thoughts, there is a hum of excitement and energy inside each step forward that can’t be heard or seen, but it can be felt. With each win or defeat, both on and off the court, the reader senses a softening of Carrie’s character through influences from all those surrounding her, not the least of which is her father and coach.
Whether it’s Bowe, Gwen, Chan, or the random characters she encounters while going about her daily life, each has a part in the evolution of her character and life.
In a sense, this is a story of realization that we are not walking through our lives alone. We might have the ability to excel, or maybe even become the best, at what we aim to accomplish. But Ms. Reid has demonstrated, in a way only she can through her storytelling, that success is fleeting. It comes and it goes. What’s most important is being present in the moment and allowing others inside your carefully constructed walls. When doing so, we find the greatest satisfaction, whether we reach our goals or fall short.
I have read every single book published to date by Taylor Jenkins Reid. It began with The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, and I’ve been compellingly pulled through each of her stories mesmerized. You would think that, with a dedicated fan like I am, my reviews would be 5-stars across the board, but they’re not.
And in a way, this novel bespeaks an underlying message… about tennis, about books, about life… you don’t have to be the best at everything you do. You don’t need to receive all the 5-star accolades to be successful. All you need is to be authentically yourself and the rest will take care of itself. You will connect with the people who share your passion and values.
As sure as the sun will rise tomorrow, when Ms. Reid publishes her next novel, I will be the first in line to purchase it. Because regardless of what subject she tackles, there is an intangible hum pulling me through an emotional journey that helps to navigate life. Carrie Soto is Back may not be my favorite of all the Taylor Jenkins Reid novels, but I proudly display it on my shelf as it reminds me about an important fact… it’s not about coming back, but rather it’s about choosing to move forward.
Dave’s Rating: ☕️☕️☕️☕️
Would you like to connect with Dave and learn more about his daily thoughts and life as an author? Join his community and be the first to share a sip of caffeine for the soul each month!