A darkly funny sports memoir about a mid-life crisis, exercise addiction, tennis, and how to grow up when you really, really don’t want to.
At 12, Scarlett discovered her father was not the punk photographer who’d brought her up, but was in fact the man she previously knew as her godfather. Her new father was Jewish, European, wealthy, and exciting. He even sent her to tennis camp! Once there, Scarlett’s talent was noticed and she was selected to train for Middlesex Juniors, a regional tennis team in West London, UK. Scarlett never went to train with the team, however: she lived too far away.
Fast forward a few years, and at 41, Scarlett was a successful novelist and a senior academic. She had a lovely house and a wonderful partner. She’d had all the therapy. Then her beloved dog died, and she couldn’t get over it. Of her three fathers (she’d acquired a step-father at 10), one died of a heroin overdose and the other two were diagnosed with cancer. Her sister-in-law become pregnant at the same time that she realized that she really was never going to become a mother. For the first time in her life, remaining a size 8-10 was hard, verging on impossible.
She was supposed to grow up, but she didn’t know how. So instead, she decided to regress: to go back to the thing she’d loved best as a child but had inexplicably abandoned: tennis.
41-Love is heartbreaking rather than heartwarming–but frequently darkly funny as Scarlett finds she’ll do anything to win–except actually growing up.