The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid ★★★★★

Started Reading 11/21/19

This is one of the books I chose to read for Buzzwordathon 5.0, and you can read more about why I choose Seven Husbands there! I am pleasantly surprised. I am reading this fresh off Reid’s newest novel, Daisy Jones and the Six. That was a story that was easy and fun, but it wasn’t nearly as great as so many professed. I struggled to connect to the characters in a real way. That was my fear here. Although, I don’t think that is an issue this go around. I am about 75% through the story, and I can say with confidence that I am connecting more than Daisy Jones.

Evelyn Hugo isn’t a very good person, at least in my estimation. However, she is successful, and it seems as though she is the way she has to be to succeed. The world isn’t/wasn’t very amenable to women 70 years ago, let alone to a woman of color (Hugo is a cuban woman). The question then becomes where does the blame belong? There is no great answer. All that matters is that Hugo is a woman with real desires who isn’t afraid to pursue them using all the powers she has at hand, the consequences be damned.

A lot of the time, it is hard not to root for her, but there are others where it is hard to believe she’d do this. Honestly, as interesting a situation as it becomes, it does at times feel a bit contrived. In large part, her hands are tied. In others, there is a serious destructive mindset. Nevertheless, her cavalier attitude makes her come across as a bit of caricature which was the problem I had with the characters in Daisy Jones. All in all, I think this novel is working better, but that is one problem I have with it.

Finished 11/22/19

I loved this book. Part of me was proud of my dissent from the popular opinion, but that can’t stand. This book resonated too much with me. Sure, parts of it felt convenient. Nevertheless, the Evelyn’s story of finding herself and what she wanted really resonated with me. I felt for her in a way that only a great book can do. In this book, there is love and loss and scandal, and I am here for it. 4.5/5 stars founding up.

Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid ★★★★☆

Read 11/20/19 – 11/21/19

This is one of the most popular books I chose to read for Buzzwordathon 5.0, and you can read more about why I choose Daisy Jones there! Daisy Jones was a very enjoyable book. They style is immersive and easy to follow. It reads (or listens) like a podcast or audible version of a documentary. The story of Daisy Jones and her comrades is an interesting one, but I struggled to find the same love for the novel that so many others did.

I love a good character driven story, and this seems like it ought to be just that. However, the more I think about it, a lot of the characters feel like caricatures in some ways. They each seem to fit a particular niche that we might expect in a band, at least Daisy and Billy do. This isn’t so extreme that it’s a distraction. I followed along and enjoyed the ride. What I didn’t do was feel a real connection (most of the time) with the characters. I understood them. However, my understanding didn’t do much to make me care. There were a few moments, ever so brief, where I did feel the emotions they might be feeling, particularly with Camilla.

As I said, Billy is not a very interesting character. It’s how those around him deal with him that I found most interesting. This is a story about fame and about how people react to it, but what I find more interesting is just how people deal with problems in life. Fame is, as booksandlala puts it, just not that interesting (to me!).

Don’t get me wrong, this is a very enjoyable book. I am listening to Reid’s older novel (Evelyn Hugo) now, and it seems interesting, but I do so with caution and the recognition that I may not love it. It will be fun at the very least. Fun is good. I don’t want to seem like I’m disregarding their love for the book. I love that others love it and get more from it. If anything, universal praise is a promise of something likable about it, even if it isn’t entirely for me. 3.75/5 stars