“Never let anyone make you feel ordinary.”
Why Did I Read This Book?
When I asked Bookstagram to choose my next read, this book came out first with an overwhelming majority. It seems that the world is loving this book at the moment and I can see why. I also chose to buy this book because after falling in love with Daisy Jones & The Six, and therefore Taylor Jenkins Reid, I had to see what her other books were like.
What Did I Think?
I don’t know what I expected from this book. I guess I expected the same kind of format as Daisy Jones. With this book, there are two stories taking place. We obviously have the narrative of Evelyn Hugo, but we also have the narrative of the girl who is interviewing Evelyn, Monique Grant. Her story is not as developed as I would probably like, but we do learn some vital things about her and her background does provide the setting for why Evelyn must tell her story.
When I was writing my notes for this, I asked myself a number of times whether I liked the character of Evelyn, and I have to say that my opinion changed multiple times. Sometimes I loved her boldness and how she built herself up from nothing; how she escaped an abusive father and a life of hardship. She was fierce and simply took life by the balls (as she would say), never taking no for an answer. I admire anyone, especially any woman, who stands up to the world and says ‘OK, you want a piece of me? Come and get it.’
“When you’re given an opportunity to change your life, be ready to do whatever it takes to make it happen. The world doesn’t give things, you take things.”
Yet, there were times where I thought Evelyn was very weak and as I held the book in my hands, my blood was boiling at how stupid she was in some situations. Her life revolved around scandal and marriage, apathetically using people to get exactly what she wanted. And she played the system well, there’s no doubt about that. But in doing so, she lost so much vital time with the people she really truly loved because of her stubbornness and society’s expectations of her.
Homosexuality is discussed a number of times throughout the book and it is interesting to read the lengths that people would go to, to ensure their true sexuality stays perfectly hidden. With Evelyn’s story based on the glitz and glamour of Hollywood from the 1950’s to the present day, it is interesting to read about society’s and the press’ portrayal of homosexuality. Most people knew who was gay in the industry, but would either keep it to themselves (in fear that the dark secrets they were inevitably keeping themselves would be exposed) or would use them as a way of manipulating anyone they wanted. With homosexual relationships only being made legal in recent times, it is no wonder that these characters did ANYTHING to hide their true selves in order to keep their fame.
“People think that intimacy is about sex. But intimacy is about truth. When you realise you can tell someone your truth, when you can show yourself to them, when you stand in front of them bare and their response is ‘you’re safe with me’- that’s intimacy.”
With seven marriages, you would think that Evelyn was an expert on love and relationships. And maybe even heartbreak. I think my favourite husband has to be either Harry or Rex because these were relationships that allowed Evelyn to be who she truly was. Love is obviously a defining theme in this book and yet again, Taylor Jenkins Reid offers some beautiful text surrounding love and how it can be explained.
“Please never forget that the sun rises and sets with your smile. At least to me it does. You’re the only thing on this planet worth worshipping.”
There is a great twist at the end of the book too. I expected that there was something the book was leading up to but I didn’t expect the twist, which is always a great feeling. I always love it when you have no clue how the book will end.
Credit to Taylor Jenkins Reid again for creating yet another masterpiece. I really enjoyed this book and Jenkins Reid is slowly but surely becoming one of my favourite authors. If you were a fan of Daisy Jones & The Six you will undoubtedly love this book too.