Thursday 23 January 2020

Publication Day Review ~ Stay Up with Hugo Best by Erin Summers

Tinder Press
23 January 2020

My thanks to the publishers for my copy of this book

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.

What did I think about it..

Hugo Best is retiring from his late night network TV talk show after a life time in front of the cameras. Following Hugo’s retirement celebration, on the spur of the moment he invites his young assistant, June Bloom, to spend the Memorial Day weekend with him at his home in Connecticut, and promises "no funny business"...

What then follows is an unusual tale about Hugo and June’s connection with each other. Hugo, no longer the late night TV comedian, and June, an aspiring comedienne, now unemployed, strangely have much in common, as both of them are having coming to terms with some difficult changes in their lives. I always find comedians incredibly sad it's almost as if they use up all their fun and hilarity in their professional lives so that when they have the chance to ‘be themselves’ it all goes sadly wrong. 

Staying up with Hugo Best is a thought-provoking story about the peculiarities of life whether you’re at the brink of a career, like June Bloom, or facing a gloomy and despondent retirement, like Hugo Best. The author writes well, and all credit to her for giving us an interesting story about a couple of not terribly likeable protagonists who seems to be struggling to find their own specific niche, and yet, despite the best efforts of both lead characters, for me, there was a definite undercurrent of something akin to despair between them.

Staying up with Hugo Best  is published today by Tinder Press..

Stay Up With Hugo Best is the author's debut novel. 



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