This very popular book received so much love and hype in 2018. As the diva she is, Evelyn Hugo demands that we carry on with the hype – and I am here to obey my queen. Hugo, who worked her way up from nothing, has been the talk of town (well, the world) since she arrived in Hollywood and changed her name. With more husbands and scandals than most women can boast about in a lifetime, she ends up with fame and piles of money – but no one to share it with. No one knows her real story and now that she has gotten old, Evelyn hires a young journalist to write it all down – all the filthy details and heartbreaking images of the life as Evelyn Hugo.
Most of the book consists of Evelyn’s biography and it’s only once in a while that we come up for air and get a breather by jumping to the present day. These breaks usually come with a change in POV and we follow the young journalist for a little while, as she struggles with her own issues and grow closer to Evelyn. Evelyn opens up about pretty much anything from the people she worked with, her many husbands and a secret that has taken her a lifetime to confess.
The characters in this story are incredibly sympathetic. Yes, the actresses of the time seem like cold-hearted, catty women with nothing in their hearts but the spotlight, but we get their POV through Evelyn. It’s a tough competition when all you’ve got is looks and time is working against you. Evelyn is a complex character and as the story progress, we come to understand more and more of her many layers. She is a master manipulator, selfcentered, ambitious to a fault and I truly love her. She owns her mistakes and character flaws and practically parades them around like she’s proud of them – if that doesn’t scream diva, what does? As for Harry.. oh, Harry. He is the best of men, the kindest friend, a kindred spirit as Anne would say. I truly envy Evelyn (a fictional character!) for having such a loyal being by her side.
The old-school Hollywood setting is amazingly vivid in this book. In every little detail, from the drinks and bars to the clothes and phrases, the atmosphere is on point! Now and then, we get a “capture” of a tabloid or newspaper including Evelyn and it only adds to the Hollywood feel – whether she’s done good or bad, if it’s Evelyn Hugo it’s front cover material! Reid also does a great job explaining just how the old movie studios worked at a time where actors weren’t independent artists but signed under companies.
The writing is some of the best I’ve ever read. The style is simple and easy to read but the descriptions and details are great and the atmosphere within the writing is on point. Now, it might seem like I’m getting payed to review this book with all the positive elements I’m throwing at you, but I swear I’m not. I’m just thrilled to have read a book that captivated me to this level and I am happy to share the love! I recommend this book to just about anyone – except for those of you who aren’t comfortable with adult content yet as there are some rather graphic scenes.
Get ready to laugh, cry, cheer and be astounded by all the character variety, the Hollywood shine and the tabloid dirt.
page count: 388
Goodreads rating: 4,3/5