Top positive review
Reviewed in the United States on December 31, 2018
I read this at the recommendation of someone and I think that someone owes me a box of tissue.
What to even say about this? I was at a loss for words when I finished reading this last night, and I'm still struggling.
I don't want to recap the book because that has been done before already and I feel that it would be full of spoilers if I attempted to.
The way the book was organized to take us on this journey was clever. It is alternately narrated by Monique, the reporter who has been appointed to write the biography of Evelyn (Herrera) Hugo, and Evelyn herself. Going back and forth between past and present while we move forward through time in the different era's of each of Evelyn's seven husbands. Tricky but creative. And it worked.
This entire book had me feeling so angry and heartbroken. I kept thinking about how terrible it was that people had to do so much to maintain secrecy out of fear of ridicule (or worse). Then I had to remind myself that it is still that way today at times and in some places. I have been so fortunate that I have been able to live my truth with very little conflict or turmoil.
I read a 1 star review for this saying race and whatever was added to be titillating. I wish I could say that was funny considering the themes of this book. Clearly that person didn't understand the message. But it just isn't funny, it is sad. I appreciated the diversity. Half back/white narrator. Black boss. Cuban American title character. That isn't titillating, it is representative of the REAL WORLD.
Ultimately this story is about the love of Evelyn Hugo's life and her desire to tell her truth once and for all. She experience so much pain and hardship through all phases of her life. It was difficult reading everything she goes through. But I felt that one thing lead to another authentically. I think her actions were based on her experiences. I didn't agree with some of them, but I could understand them.
The ending was a surprise, for sure. The author did a great job of planting seeds throughout the book that kept you hooked to want to know what this was all about.
Evelyn was full of sexuality and sex was a constant theme. I'm so impressed how the author wrote about it without ever being explicit.
In the end, I was moved by the story. I shed many tears. I may not have liked Evelyn Hugo. I don't think we are really supposed to. But I definitely felt empathy and sadness. As well as a sense that I had read something wonderful.