Who doesn’t love The Devil Wears Prada, the book or the film, I’m not picky. Anne Hathaway and Meryl Streep were fantastic on screen and it’s one of the films I can watch over and over again and not get bored. Sure, it’s got amazing fashion, which I adore, and the intro is one of my ever-favourite film openings. It’s not just the song, it’s women getting ready and ending up looking fabulous, while I feel like Andy most of the time. So, it’s no surprise I decided to give another one of Lauren Weisberger’s books a go. The Singles Game follows Charlotte Silver on her path to win a Grand Slam. Weisberger dips into the world of professional tennis and guides us behind closed doors of player parties, taxing physical training and grueling nutrition struggles.
My recent To-Read list includes more thrillers and historical novels than chick-lit books, but I really enjoyed this one. If you read any of my reviews, you know I’m utterly and completely fed up with weak and silly female characters who’re only oohing and aahing after their prince charming and not taking control of their life and their actions or results there of inevitably seem to be somebody else’s fault. Argh! Luckily, Charlie, the main character in The Singles Game, is nothing like that. She’s a professional tennis player who wants to get to the top and understands that being the best requires sacrifices.
And Charlie does sacrifice her goodie-two-shoes character and looks for a new Warrior Princess persona. Her new coach is ruthless and driven and makes Charlie work harder than she ever has while equipping her with the complete entourage of PR personnel, stylist and the lot. We get a glimpse of the scenes behind the life of professional tennis players, which isn’t as glamorous as it looks at first sight. It’s all about hard work, pushing your body to its limits, dieting, not indulging, early nights and mornings, travelling and barely ever seeing your home. Weisberger depicts all of the above with ease.
What I didn’t understand was Charlie’s dad’s attitude to his daughter’s drive to be the best. Yes, parents always want what’s best for their children (or at least they should) and I can get my head around the fact that he didn’t like her change into a more ruthless and less empathetic player as he wants her to be a genuine and good person, but it was all in line with her goal of being the number one ranked player. We kept reading about her parents, especially her mother before her untimely death, only wanting Charlie to play until she stopped loving the game and it feels like she truly does love it, but her dad seems to not support her in changing her coach and the new approach despite her getting where she wants to be. I just thought he should show a bit more trust in her ability to make her own decisions, even if they aren’t always the best ones.
Despite the above, Charlie’s family is by her side and despite them maybe not showing their 100% support all the time, they do rally around her when she needs them.
I truly enjoyed the book as it’s funny and serious at the same time, the characters are well written, all from the hot, but flaky male tennis player to a quiet and supportive hitting partner, a driven and ruthless coach, supportive and worried single dad.
The Singles Game is a book you can read on the beach or by the pool as it’s easy to understand, even if you’re a tennis newbie. And even if you don’t enjoy tennis, the story is more than that, you can follow Charlie’s path to becoming a proper grown-up and realising there’s more to life that just good PR.
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