Taylor Jenkins Reid | published June 2017
Summary From GoodReads:
Aging and reclusive Hollywood movie icon Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life. But when she chooses unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant for the job, no one is more astounded than Monique herself. Why her? Why now? Monique is not exactly on top of the world. Her husband has left her, and her professional life is going nowhere. Regardless of why Evelyn has selected her to write her biography, Monique is determined to use this opportunity to jumpstart her career.
Summoned to Evelyn’s luxurious apartment, Monique listens in fascination as the actress tells her story. From making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950s to her decision to leave show business in the ’80s, and, of course, the seven husbands along the way, Evelyn unspools a tale of ruthless ambition, unexpected friendship, and a great forbidden love. Monique begins to feel a very real connection to the legendary star, but as Evelyn’s story near its conclusion, it becomes clear that her life intersects with Monique’s own in tragic and irreversible ways.
I happen to enjoy a plot with a great twist or three – I am not, however, a fan of bait and switch. If a book is about a triggering thing, say its about a triggering thing and let me decide if and when I’ll read it. I’d say this book falls much closer to the later, but, that wouldn’t take into account my complete lack of research on the title or author prior to starting to read. I know for a fact I found this book on a bookish IG feed and, because I liked the cover and the title, (gives Elizabeth Taylor vibes, yes?) I placed it on my TBR list. This is how I found myself reading Gay Chic-Lit. 🤦🏾♀️
That’s actually fine. I read a lot of different shit, books being a passport to anywhere and everything and all that. But, listen, I was in the mood for a fictional rendering of Liz Taylor’s life. Thats what I IMAGINED the title promised and damn it, I wanted it! Instead, by mid first chapter I found myself, slowly, becoming emotionally invested in what turns out to be an epic lesbian love story. 🤦🏾♀️ Im not quite sure I’ve gotten over my disappointment. I better read a Zane novel next to realign my chakras. 🤣😂
Rant over. This is a great book. I’m glad I didn’t allow the unfamiliar to turn me off. Evelyn Hugo, long infamous and famous Hollywood actress, is now an 80yo woman, wanting to tell her life story. The truth, apparently, after years of crafting a persona for the public and personal gain. And, ultimately, it is all about Ev’s relationships. Relationships that date back to the 1950’s, post WWII, when women were told “marriage led to the best possible life”, birth control had to be approved by your husband, as was your right to work, abortions were illegal, sex outside of marriage was socially unacceptable, domestic violence was tolerated and being gay subjected you to loosing your children and being jailed. All of which, we get to experience with Ev as she narrates her story to a young journalist she has sought out.
Pros: The author has crafted the perfect story, set in the best time, to weave themes of found families, women and sex in the 20th century, reproductive rights, hetero, homo and bi-sexuality, pay equality, and domestic violence without being overhanded at all. Coming up, Evelyn was scrappy and ambitious with laser focus on what was important to her: fame, money and family. Fuck going back to where she came from – today was better than yesterday and she’s only looking to make tomorrow greater. Can this woman be my fairy godmother?
Evelyn delivers a crap ton of classy one liners and quotes that are memorable and poignant. If you’ve had a conversation with an 80 yo woman who’s lived, loved, lost and won, then you know and value the wisdom they can often impart in just a well timed ‘Oh, ok’. (Shout out to Nana😘 #Gang)
Cons: There’s a shit ton of triggers in this book. Don’t let that deter you. Take an extra Xanax crazy pants, pour yourself a drink, and get settled. Your in a safe place, this is fiction, and everything turns out ok in the end. 🙄
Simply, this book is entertaining and colorful. The author writes beautifully, describing her love scenes and backgrounds with the same fervent. Unlike, City of Girls, which is set roughly in the same time period, New York is vibrant and filled with protestors and (#Gasp) black & brown people! Real quick, grab this book and go meet my fairy godmom! 😜 #Goodbook 30 of 36