The narrative thoroughly chronicles her family’s struggles and occasional strokes of luck, her experiences with multiple coaches, and the epic matches that have defined her career, including winning Wimbledon at age 17 against rival Serena Williams. Unstoppable is an inspiring memoir about coming-of-age within the elite tennis community and a tribute to the unconditional support from families and coaches who make success possible. Sure to satisfy longtime fans of women’s tennis.
Sharapova’s book is an illuminating account of, as the subtitle has it, her life so far. The memoir begins and ends with its author’s experience of the doping debacle, and though most of these chapters concern life before her suspension, the incident haunts her book ... The book may not make her more likeable—why, again, do we need her to be?—but it does make her a hell of a lot more knowable. Sharapova’s a careful observer, and Unstoppable is full of astute psychological insights ... Even when she writes about life off the court, every revelation feels calculated. There’s a matter-of-factness to her tone; this is less catharsis than analysis of the very clever ways that the author has turned her deficits into her advantages.
Her career, it seems, is one of the most interesting and compelling you can find. Considering all this, it’s disappointing to read Ms. Sharapova’s autobiography, Unstoppable: My Life So Far. The book has a few worthy bits on her childhood and career, but mostly it lacks depth and drama—everything sounds too simple and smooth. If this version were a draft, it would be a solid one, fit to be reworked into a fine book after her retirement. At the moment, though, it is too little too soon ... Ms. Sharapova, assisted here by the journalist Rich Cohen, can’t be accused of dishonesty, but she stays too far away from emotions, especially those involving her and her family ... For tennis fans, the most important revelation of this book is that Ms. Sharapova’s previous plan to retire around her current age no longer works. The suspension has driven her to play until she can’t play anymore. 'Now I think only about playing,' she writes. 'As long as I can. As hard as I can. Until they take down the nets. Until they burn my rackets. Until they stop me. And I want to see them try.' Maybe when she is done, she’ll make this account more complete, too.
The surprisingly compelling Unstoppable is at its best when recounting Sharapova’s fraught early life ... It’s [Rich] Cohen’s polish that elevates Unstoppable. The writer’s own family memoir, Sweet and Low, is fantastic, and he has written engaging books on topics ranging from The Rolling Stones to the history of Israel. When Sharapova speaks of her father celebrating her Wimbledon victory by drinking 'until the night itself was defeated,' it’s surely Cohen’s voice breaching the surface. The last portion of Unstoppable is an occasionally rote retelling of the ups and downs of Sharapova’s career since her breakthrough.
In Unstoppable, Maria Sharapova recounts a similar story: a determined journey from the bitter cold and desolation of Siberia to the warm (at times burning) glow of international superstardom ... All the big matches are relived in a speedy, engaging way, and her prose exudes confidence as she describes her ability to dominate her peers on the tour and how she came to be considered one of the greatest female players of the game. Her writing becomes more vulnerable, frustrated, and interesting when she explores her struggles with Serena Williams ... Sharapova is at her best when she is calculating, but where do the calculations end? Unstoppable itself appears to be part of the athlete’s plan to control her image, to stare down the reader.
For tennis players and fans, the memoir is filled with solid insights about on-the-court strategy and off-the-court psychology...For readers with no interest in tennis, the author delivers an impressive immigration tale, an inspiring coming-of-age narrative, and a host of useful advice on navigating celebrity culture. Sharapova demonstrates consistent dedication and impressive wisdom for her age.
One can only marvel at the fall of the five-time Grand Slam champion, the glamorous spokeswoman for luxury products and the richest female athlete in the world. To convey this kind of calamity would require a Greek tragedy, not an as-told-to autobiography. But Unstoppable does offer clues to why Sharapova finds herself with few friends on the pro tour ... reads like a Horatio Alger story on steroids ... The memoir ends where it began, with Sharapova’s bravado about never quitting 'until they take down the nets. Until they burn my rackets.' I’d recommend that the author of Unstoppable pause, reflect a bit deeper, and cut herself and everyone else more slack.