Welcome to another LGBTQ book review! All reviews touch on genre/plot, tropes (if any), quality of LGBTQ content, and avoid most spoilers. Catch up on my last book review of The Falling in Love Montage by Ciara Smyth. You can find all LGBTQ book reviews here.
Evelyn Hugo fits into the following category for the Sapphic Reader Challenge:
- A case could be made for “coming out later in life”
- Friends to lovers romance
- Bisexual or pansexual character
- Character over 40
LGBTQ Book, Evelyn Hugo: Light spoilers
Aged yet still glamours Hollywood royalty, Evelyn Hugo, recruits new journalist, Monique, to write her biography. Through the project, Evelyn describes all seven of her marriages–of which she’s outlived each husband while Monique aims to discover the true love of Evelyn’s life.
Evelyn Hugo is bisexual and makes very clear and direct indications of this at a few different point throughout the book. Evelyn’s primary love interest is an assumed lesbian while her best friend is a gay man.
LGBTQ content assessment
Evelyn’s story takes place over the course of several decades–the bulk of which happens in the 50s and into the 80s, where her identity, her love interest’s identity, their relationship, her best friend’s identity and his relationships, are all kept secret. With all characters under tabloid spotlight, they fear social repercussions of coming out or getting caught. While the closet comes with occasional bouts of shame and entangles issues into relationships, the internalized homophobia is not a strong aspect of the story.
While writing the book, Evelyn makes clear to Monique to tell the story honestly–repeating multiple times that she loved men and women and uses the bisexual label more than once. Language and monologues around the label come across a little robotic and clunky, but not enough to detract from the importance of the label or the story at large.
LGBTQ Book, Evelyn Hugo Rating: Spoilers Ahead
Loved this book. With the technical aspects and style choices, the chapters were nice and short with large sections for each husband. The division of sections and chapters made this read quick and digestible without losing its thrill, and I loved that.
Personally, I did find the framing of the story a little weird. Evelyn Hugo’s story could’ve stood strong on its own without the frame of writing an autobiography and the added drama of having this particular writer on board to do it. I can only imagine that whole segment of the story meant to have another character judge and reconcile the complexities and flaws of Evelyn, but I’m not sure how much it added to Hugo’s narrative. Or maybe I, too, was just too swallowed up by Evelyn’s presence that I cared little about anything or anyone else–who’s to say?
8/10 would recommend.