Bingo Square: Listicle (from here).
Evelyn Hugo is an ageing film legend who has been notoriously private about her life and career choices. Now she’s finally ready to talk, and she has chosen Monique Grant, an unknown journalist, as the one to tell her story. Monique is thrilled and flattered but also a little wary as she heads to Hugo’s home for days on end to listen to one of the world’s most famous women tell her tale. And a glittering one it is, about old Hollywood and Evelyn’s many husbands. But is there another reason Evelyn Hugo has called Monique there?
After absolutely loving Daisy Jones and The Six I was left disappointed with this one. It was fine and readable enough but it really felt like it was missing something to me. I didn’t like the set up, which is the first setback. Monique interviewing her felt like it was done entirely to have there be a ‘twist’ in their connection and for me it didn’t make it worthwhile. I didn’t like Monique, (and could barely remember her name just now) I think in part because her characterisation was pretty poor. She’s stalled in her journalism career and divorcing her husband and that’s…kind of it. I didn’t really get her, she’s sort of hard and aloof and not that interesting to follow when it’s her and not Evelyn we’re with.
I also didn’t like the writing style. It’s very light and fluffy given that it covers the entire life of a person, an extremely interesting person who has gone through a lot. But it tells more than it shows and it skips over a lot of things. It’s just, ‘I married so and so and he turned out to be a cad and then I made another movie and it was well received and then and then and then’, so it’s hard to really connect with what’s happening. And I think we should. I think I should be emotionally invested in this woman and her life and I just wasn’t. Or at least not to the degree I would have liked to have been.
For me I think it would have been better to have a straightforward telling of Evelyn’s story, without the Monique bits. I imagine someone like Margaret Atwood writing this story, a la The Blind Assassin, and think what it could have been.