My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I LOVED this book. I didn’t really know anything about it when I started but I got very attached very quickly. The story was such an emotional roller coaster. I found myself feeling upbeat one moment and incredibly sad the next. The plot flowed perfectly. So much time was covered but nothing felt like it bogged down the story and everything discussed had a purpose. The characters, both the main and supporting ones, were just terrific. They were well written and thought out, each having such a distinct personality.
The only thing I knew about this book when I started it is that there would be queer content of some nature somewhere in it. Beyond that I had only heard of it in passing. I am so glad I gave this one a shot. I absolutely loved this book.
The plot in this book spans over several decades. Evelyn is a Hollywood legend from the ’50s-’80s and is finally read to tell the world the truth about her life in 2017. Of course, the one thing everyone seems to be fixated on is the fact that she married seven times in her life. I love that the thread of this story rides primarily on this. It really helps push the story along with good forward momentum. The author never bogged the story down with unrelated details which helped it never really get boring. I liked that there would be casual comments, like mentioning that she had had a couple of trips to a plastic surgeon offhandedly in relation to another point in her story. It wasn’t relevant in terms of any of her relationships so it had no other attention beyond that.
Evelyn is such a unique and interesting character. She describes her life in such a way that makes you struggle with your emotions. She is a strong woman in a time when strong women weren’t wanted, but she also chose to do so many terrible things to get to where she was, the majority of that being using people for her benefit. The author did such a good job of making you love and hate her. The fact that the book starts with a mystery that you never learn the answer to until the end was amazing. Evelyn chooses an almost nobody journalist, Monique, to write her biography but won’t tell her why and it’s something we don’t learn until the very end. This was one of the many things that constantly tugged me forward because I just wanted to know. When the big reveal finally did happen and we learn what Evelyn’s connection to Monique is, I admit to shedding a few tears and having several complicated emotions I couldn’t sort out.
The thing that kept me glued to this book was learning about her relationship with fellow actress Cecilia St. Sames. This is really the meat of the story. Evelyn confesses very early in her conversations with Monique that Cecilia is, in fact, the love of her life. I was shocked at first that this would be revealed fairly early in the book, but it was the struggles they went through to be together that take center stage. There was so much back and forth with always having to hide their relationship and the lengths Evelyn was willing to go to make sure that happened. This is where the “you love and hate her” part of the book kicks into high gear. All of the choices she makes forces your emotions to swing one way or the other very quickly.
All of the supporting cast are terrifically written as well. All of her husbands where unique and interesting with very clear character definition. From her abusive second husband Don to Harry, her best friend and fifth husband, and Cecilia of course. There wasn’t a single character in this book that I didn’t like and love to hate.
This book was an emotional journey that I’m so glad I experienced and the only thing I don’t like at this point is that I can’t experience it again for the first time.