Trophy Son: A Novel
Trophy Son reveals the highs and lows of a professional tennis career through the eyes of Anton Stratis, a tennis prodigy painstakingly cultivated by his own athletic career-minded father.
Anton lives a largely charmed life, with the exception of his intense tennis career, which he starts at a young age. In his adolescence, he is self-aware enough to know that his father’s grueling training sessions and his single-minded focus on everything tennis is unhealthy and borderline abusive. While his tennis career takes a meteoric rise, Anton’s personal growth and development is stunted, leaving him vulnerable to exploitation.
For those parents with young children who practice sports, this book would be a cautionary tale. Even though the book is a work of fiction, it portrays what goes on in the mind of a young man whose parents have an obsession with winning and sports. It is a scenario that might be all too familiar to many households with student-athletes and one that could be applied to any activity. From its character’s punishing practices in oppressive Florida heat to later reliance on steroids for performance and energy, Trophy Son depicts a hyperbole of what happens when athletics at a young age are taken a step too far.
The book does get repetitive at some points. Anton plays tennis, endures abuse from his father, narrates how he feels, and falls into situations in which his limited social skills hinder his relationships with others. As he begins to remove himself from his father’s clutches, he only grows to be more privileged, albeit wildly unhappy. As a reader, I was torn between feeling sympathy for him — because he was a truly stunted and shallow human being — to wanting him to quit whining because he was given opportunities many, many boys his age in the real world simply do not have.
Does Anton ever develop a personality and a purpose beyond tennis? You’ll have to read the book to find out. It is worth it.
|Page Count||288 pages|
|Publisher||St. Martin's Press|
|Bookshop.org||Buy this Book|