A memoir from professional tennis player Maria Sharapova about her immigration saga, introduction to the sport, rivalry with Serena Williams, and recent ban for testing positive for an outlawed substance.
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.