Publication Date:

January 2022



Original language and publisher

English | Counterpoint Press

Territories Handled

World excl. English North America





What, really, is a trophy? Scarlett Thomas’s is covered in spikes, and may also be radioactive, but she plunks it down defiantly in this addictive memoir. A bracing statement on athleticism as continual work in progress, the limits of bodies, and the go-for-broke ambition to be exceptional. — Vikki Warner, author of ‘Tenemental: Adventures of a Reluctant Landlady’

“Thomas (Oligarchy) serves an ace of a memoir with this trenchant account about the pains of getting older . . . This window into midlife desire is cathartic, amusing reading for anyone who’s wanted desperately to win.”Publishers Weekly

“The author’s honesty is what makes this memoir appealing, and Thomas’ insights into the world of amateur tennis are compelling.”  Booklist

“Intensity marks Thomas’s beautiful memoir, which is a meticulously detailed, often darkly funny account of her hot pursuit of a dream deferred . . . Smart, clever and very suspenseful . . . With Thomas serving as narrator for the multi-layered, no-holds-barred odyssey of her ascent into middle age, she emerges as a top seed and the very best of them all.”Shelf Awarenes

As a longtime fan of tennis and good writing, I felt like Thomas wrote this memoir just for me. . . . There’s lively writing about tennis, but also about competitiveness and emotional toughness, and finding oneself later in life.” — Alma

“A moving and original memoir . . . a story of finding what sustains us in the face of unexpected change and grief.” —Sloane Crosley, Departures

A darkly funny memoir about a mid-life crisis, exercise addiction, tennis, and how to grow up when you really don’t want to.

At forty-one, Scarlett Thomas was a successful novelist and a senior academic. She’d quit smoking, gotten healthier, settled down in a lovely house with a wonderful partner. She’d had all the therapy. Then her beloved dog died. Her parents started to get sick right around the time she realized she was never going to be a mother herself. For the first time in her life, maintaining her ideal weight had become nearly 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. Thomas knows she’s not the only person to have wondered whether throwing enough money and tim and passion at something can make your dream come true. 41–Love is heartbreaking but frequently funny as Thomas finds she’ll do anything to win—almost anything.