The Singles Game by Lauren Weisberger follows a formula. An average girl visits the high-glamour world, tries to live the rules of the world there. At some point realizes she cannot adjust or rather need not adjust and happily comes back to her own world.
For The Singles Game, Laura Weisberger has chosen her field to be Tennis. The world of high-flying highly acclaimed grand slam players. Charlie – protagonist of the story is an American player who meets with an injury at her first Wimbledon match. While she is recuperating, she plans her career. She hires a coach with the best grand slam wins and a coach who has never coached a female player. With the coach comes his idiosyncrasies, his strategies, and his teams.
There is someone working on how she looks on and off the court. There is someone deciding what she would eat, what she would say to media and how she will conduct herself in public. She has a fling with a happening male tennis player. Most happening Hollywood heartthrob walks up to her to sleep with her. She goes away from her family as she is too busy with her commitments. She goes from being this sweet girl next door to being a Diva and thanks to her workouts she has the perfect body to model for any product. However, she realizes that deep inside she is not what she is projecting and she changes all her plans.
There is a real love story happening on the sidelines. There is a best friend who can be trusted with any secret sharing. And there is a father who is like a silent support system. There is a gay brother who is dealing with his own problems. I am thankful that author did not insert a child abuse story – a trauma to deal with.
Through Charlie’s story, Lauren Weisberger also gives you an insider view of what happens behind the Tennis courts. She gives us a glimpse of the players’ world – their highs and their lows. She makes you feel what it is to be traveling 48 weeks in a year. And she shows you the nexus between high profile sportspersons and the businesses when she takes you on a yacht. She tells you why brand endorsements sometimes become the end goal for players or other high profile professionals. She brings out the image consultants and public relations professionals who can go to any extent to manipulate public opinion. In a very small way, she gives you how media manipulates, how it lends itself to sensationalize the headlines.
We probably know bit and pieces of this world, but Lauren Weisberger puts it together for us to see them as cogs in a larger wheel. Characters are so well etched that you almost know how they would behave. The language perfectly blends with the nuances of the world being presented to the reader. The cat fights of female players, their subtle bullying on the court and their tactics to beat to other not just through the skill of racket but also with psychic pressure is extremely interesting to read. The support system that a high profile player needs is amusing to read and I wonder if they can ever play alone on their own.
Having said that, the author has kept the story quite realistic where there was ample scope of exaggeration and hyping up the story. Maybe I missed a bit of adventure, but then I liked the realism.
Overall, an interesting book. I think it could have been a tad bit shorter. At places it gets repetitive. The end has been left to the reader’s jurisdiction – make it what you want it to be. Author has given her message by then.
Read it, although I am sure somewhere someone is already working on converting it into a film.