Review: Stay Up with Hugo Best

Title: Stay Up with Hugo Best
Author: Erin Somers
Genre: Fiction, Literary
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Canada
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: April 2, 2019
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

An incredibly timely, terrifically witty and moving debut about a young writer’s assistant on a late night comedy show and what transpires when she accepts an invitation from its enigmatic host to spend a long weekend at his mansion in Connecticut.

June Bloom is a broke, cynical twenty-nine-year-old writer’s assistant on the late-night comedy show, Stay Up with Hugo Best. Hugo Best is in his sixties, a beloved icon of TV and humor, and a notorious womanizer. After he unexpectedly retires and a party is held for his now unemployed staff, June ends up at a dive bar for an open-mic night and prepares for the sad return to the anonymous comedian lifestyle. What she’s not prepared for is a run-in with Hugo at that dive bar. Nor for the invitation that swiftly follows: Hugo asks June to come to his mansion in Greenwich for the long Memorial Day weekend. “No funny business,” he insists.

June, in need of a job and money, confident she can handle herself, but secretly harboring the remains of a childhood crush on the charming older comedian and former role model, accepts. The exact terms of the visit are never spelled out, but June is realistic and clear-eyed enough to guess. Even so, as the weekend unfolds and the enigmatic Hugo gradually reveals himself, their dynamic proves to be much more complicated and less predictable than she expected.

At once hilarious and poignant, brilliantly incisive and terrifically propulsive, Stay Up with Hugo Best is an incredibly timely exploration of sexual politics in the #MeToo age, and the unforgettable story of one young woman’s poignant stumbling into adulthood.

Review:

I enjoyed this new literary story. It has some humourous parts, but it is also sad.

The characters developed in different directions in the story. It takes place over a weekend, but you really get to know them in that short period of time. June goes from a quiet assistant writer to a confident young woman. Meanwhile, Hugo moves from being a late night comedian to a lonely, friendless old man. June grew up, while Hugo deflated.

Some of the story was difficult to read. There were some depressing parts. June gets to live this fancy life for a weekend, where she can pretty much have anything she wants. However, she knows it will end. She has always idolized Hugo, but he isn’t really the person she has always fantasized about. Hugo loses his career and his friends over the space of a few days. They have both lost their jobs, but June’s youth gives hope for her future.

This was a good story with a satisfying ending.

Thank you Simon and Schuster Canada for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

The Showrunner by Kim Moritsugu

Have you read Stay Up with Hugo Best? What did you think of it?

Station Eleven

It took me a while to read this book because the original printing had deckle edges, which I can’t stand! Now I wish I had read it sooner.

It’s about a virus that kills 99% of the population. It takes place in Toronto, Southern Ontario and the Northern U.S. An actor has a heart attack on stage on the night that the virus is brought to Canada from Russia. The story follows people related to the actor, from a girl who witnessed his death on stage to the paramedic who attempted to revive him to his ex-wives and friends.

Though the time and setting jump around between chapters, St. John Mandel weaves it together beautifully. The premise of a virus taking the lives of most of the world was very disturbing to think about. It was especially scary for me since the majority of the story happens in my hometown of Toronto. When the virus first breaks, it is compared to SARS, a virus that affected the city many years ago. However SARS didn’t have the repercussions that the virus in this story had.

The only part of the story that I thought was unnecessary was the subplot involving the paramedic. He was the only character on the outer edges of the main story. I think his part could be completely removed without changing the rest of the plot, making.

I loved this story and I’m so proud that it’s Canadian!