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Stay Up with Hugo Best

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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.

272 pages, Hardcover

First published April 2, 2019

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About the author

Erin Somers

2 books155 followers
Erin Somers is the author of STAY UP WITH HUGO BEST, forthcoming from Scribner in April 2019.

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5 stars
256 (9%)
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439 (16%)
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974 (36%)
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742 (28%)
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222 (8%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 443 reviews
Profile Image for Susan's Reviews.
1,077 reviews492 followers
October 16, 2021
I was cringing as I finished this novel. It started out well. Young staff writer June Bloom accepts a long weekend invitation from her former celebrity boss. The talk show he hosted for years has finally aired its last episode and Hugo Best is headed for retirement. Twenty-nine year old June Bloom is aware that Hugo Best has certain "expectations" for this week end.

Although the first few chapters were intriguing, the heroine in this pseudo "tell all" tale of a "dirty weekend tryst" with a famous talk show host is all over the place - as directionless and ambivalent as this story ends up being. The entire first two-thirds of the book is taken up with the suspenseful question: will they or won't they? A few red herrings are tossed into the mix, as well as an inevitable triangle or two, or three! Nothing really new here - but the author does write very well. Ultimately, her characters are unappealing and shallow: success and fame at any price, it seems.

(Spoiler alert:) If June had not herself described Hugo Best in skin-crawling terms during the "pivotal scene", it would not have mattered to me that a 29 year old and a 60 year old were about to have an intimate moment or two; but the description of how Best's skin sagged down after he removed his "body girdle" totally killed any romantic vibe - if there ever was one to begin with. The word "sordid" kept flashing in my mind, especially after June describes the act as being "fleshy". (In stark contrast, Robert Taylor and Katee Sackhoff did an excellent job of selling their character's May/December relationship in the fantastic Netfilx series, Longmire.)

It is interesting (and patently ironic) that Best's 17 year old son, Spencer, is also staying at the house that weekend, and there is an undeniable attraction between June and young Spencer.

Historically, people have been attracted to stars, athletes, war and super heroes, and CEOs who have amassed great wealth, etc. Readers and movie-goers fantasize about sleeping with their "idols" - sharing, if only for a brief moment, in their fame or glory. In this novel, young June makes no secret that she is worried about her future job prospects and at one point briefly envisions that she might fall pregnant with Best's child: at least her future would be all mapped out for her as the young wife/lover of a wealthy former Hollywood star. How bleak is that?!

Erin Somers did not paint an enticing picture of the life of an aging celebrity: there is sort of a feeding frenzy where everyone around Hugo Best was trying to use or profit from him in some way. I understand why this book is so poorly rated. This author has good writing skills, but there is nothing new here, and it is yet another bleak tale of humanity's misguided, shallow quest for fame and riches. I give this a 3.5 out of 5.
Profile Image for Fran.
640 reviews587 followers
January 13, 2019
June Bloom, 29 years old, was a writing assistant for "Stay Up with Hugo Best", a late night comedy show. June lived with a roommate in a Brooklyn neighborhood both "charmless and in flux". She had slowly worked her way up from audience page to writers assistant for her childhood crush, Hugo Best. This "beloved" TV comedian and womanizer unexpectedly announced his last show and upcoming retirement.

June is now unemployed. It will be back to open mics in shady environs, playing to mostly empty chairs or customers ignoring her presence on stage. "The Birds and the Bees" is one such establishment. Hugo Best happens upon June Bloom at this club. Surprisingly, Hugo realizes that she has worked on his show and invites her to spend Memorial Day Weekend at his Connecticut mansion. He promises "no funny business". What are June's expectations for this special weekend with an iconic comedian?

June was trying to discover her niche. Approaching 30 years of age, she hadn't found her true direction in life. "Being in a chauffeured car all of a sudden was a shock to the system akin to jet lag. I felt transported across time zones". This must be the good life!

Hugo Best, seemingly magnetic and charismatic, had planned a Memorial Day/Retirement Party to be attended by his friends including comedy people, actresses, models and neighbors. Who will be in attendance?

"Stay Up with Hugo Best" by Erin Somers is the story of two individuals striving for self worth. June feels she "should have arrived". Stand up comedy is arguably lonely and unsettling. Hugo is unsettled as well. Life as he knew it has changed.

Thank you Scribner and Net Galley for the opportunity to read and review "Stay Up with Hugo Best".
Profile Image for Fabian.
947 reviews1,564 followers
July 11, 2019
Typical millennial jives with aging superstar. She makes herself so at-home, you could swear that this was the same girl who completely ignores the Lyft driver after exiting her bomb-ass house... you know, entitled.

And this is "Stay Up"s forte: the vivid portrayal of a Millennial. In case you were wondering; in case you didn't know. "The worst I suffered was nonsuccess" (37). The worst we suffer is the typical minutia that a tale like this wants to include so that it has a patina of WOW. Instead, it is a sad reminder of how empty fans and stars are alike. Like, why would a comedian want this girl's opinions? She hasn't lived, does so in an "intrepid/stupid" way... What is so special about her? She is tired of being impressed; she gives us nothing but adequately exists in a comfy sphere... Ugh. She lives in NY and tries to be a comedian? Ugh gag! Skip (!!!) this one. For reasons unknown it is getting above average reviews...
Profile Image for TL .
1,825 reviews35 followers
May 8, 2019
Narrator: 3 stars
Story: 2 stars
Characters: 2.5 stars

Overall rating: 2.75 stars.. I think

Had a couple spots where it was more interesting for me but overall this was pretty underwhelming.

More focused on the characters than the plot. Now, that isn't always bad but the people created have to grab your attention somehow and get you invested in what was going to happen.

It had my interest enough to keep going but still not completely sure why I finished. Part of it probably me being stubborn perhaps.

A couple things were teased at happening but when one did it was underwhelming and just.. there (the latter done on purpose maybe).

Was expecting something different from the blurb but aah well.

Off to the next, happy reading if the summary peaks your interest. *waves*
Profile Image for Carolyn Walsh .
1,478 reviews602 followers
March 16, 2019
Thanks to NetGalley and Simon & Schuster for the opportunity to read this ARC in return for an honest review. After reading a number of dark murder mysteries, I wanted to take a break and read something lighthearted and comical. This was definitely not lighthearted, and reviews calling it hilarious had me fearing I was devoid of any sense of humour. To me, it was the opposite of hilarious, being depressing, poignant and full of melancholy, and with uncertain motivations on the part of the leading characters. It was well written, with much to be said about modern sexual politics, but am unsure of the book's aim, or what conclusion I was supposed to draw.

June Bloom is a 29-year-old who comes across younger in many ways. Her goal in life is to be a comedian along with the fame it could bring. She was performing stand-up comedy at a dive bar. I got the impression that her goal in comedy is probably futile. I can take vulgar stand-up comedy if it is funny, but the snippets of her routine were just plain vulgar. She seems unfocused, yearns to be a celebrity, but sometimes feels unworthy. At other times she angrily states that she deserves the fame. It is unclear whether she has the talent to achieve her ambitions. She is broke, and not taking productive steps to reach her goal or to find another field of employment. She is merely floating through life.

After the open mic show, where many seats were empty and the few in the audience ignoring her routine, she encounters famed celebrity, Hugo Boss. June worked as a writer's assistant for his late night TV show and had a childhood crush on him. She still idolizes him and is in awe of him. Hugo's show has been cancelled, putting them both out of work. Hugo claims to be 65 but is actually a few years older. He seems sad and unexpectedly invites June to his home in Connecticut for the Memorial Day holiday. She accepts, standing up a date with her current boyfriend.

There is a lot of sarcasm and complaining in their dialogue, but they gradually seem to build a tentative bond during her time at his luxurious home. June is able to boost his shattered ego caused by his fate as a celebrity has-been. June is impressed by his mansion, his fleet of cars, his staff, and the luxuries she sees that fame can bring.

I wasn't able to connect with the flawed characters or the situation. It was not what I expected, but others may enjoy this character-driven story.
Profile Image for Betsy Robinson.
Author 9 books1,042 followers
June 17, 2019
If you've ever free-fallen into an experience, knowing there was probably nothing good to come from it, but it arose and you said "What the hey, you never know"—and the whole time you were rolling with it, you knew it was stupid, and you assumed intimacy that felt natural but had no roots, you may enjoy this book. If you've ever been close with somebody who was or later became famous, but you know how he is in real life, you will be interested in this book. If you've worked with comedians, you will find much to resonate with. And if you've suffered from being a professional wait-er—as in: one who waits for other people to do something so that you can do something—this book is for you.

Twenty-nine-year-old world-weary June Bloom loses her TV writers' assistant job when the comedy show, Stay Up with Hugo Best, fires Hugo Best, and she accepts a weekend invitation to his house in tony Greenwich, Connecticut. What makes the story rich is the self-awareness of June and Hugo, and the overall wisdom of author Erin Somers.

This is a well-written literary novel about a slick subject, but the author's wisdom makes it anything but slick. I really enjoyed it right up until the preamble to the ending, But it's not what the very talented Erin Somers chose, and it's her book.
Profile Image for Michelle.
457 reviews527 followers
January 17, 2023
I wasn't completely sure what to expect when I started this one but I could not stop thinking about it during the few days that I read it. The book takes place over the four days of memorial day weekend after Hugo Best, a late night talk show host, has wrapped up filming his last show. On a whim, he invites June Bloom, a writers assistant on his show, to his house in Connecticut. June, now jobless and having a crush on Hugo since childhood, accepts his invitation despite the fact that he is 30+ years her senior and has quite a reputation.

What follows is a quietly hilarious and, at times, sad character study of these two. June laments the difficulty of being a not quite successful twenty-something and Hugo struggles with saying goodbye to his show and growing older. They both grapple with what fame means to them - how much they want it, how it protects, how it isolates. Somers' writing is keenly observant and she does dialogue in a way that made me feel like the characters were real people I was listening to.

This one reminded me of a more real-life version of 30 rock, so I highly recommend for those who love comedy but also a real-life look at what it means to be famous, seek fame, and sometimes feel disappointed by it all.
Profile Image for Jessica Woodbury.
1,606 reviews2,051 followers
January 27, 2019
A wry and meditative novel about fame and the proximity to it. June is an aspiring comedian at the very bottom of the totem pole at a late night talk show hosted by famed comedian Hugo Best. After Hugo's run on the show ends, meaning they're both out of a job, the sixty-something Hugo invites 29-year-old June to his Connecticut mansion for the weekend even though they've barely spoken before. What follows isn't quite what you expect, but it's also not all that far off, as June tags along on a couple of days in Hugo's life.

What Somers has to say about comedy, fame, and the sad lot of the many low-level strivers is interesting enough but June herself doesn't quite come into focus. By being 29 and not 19, we know she is smart enough to know what she is getting into when she accepts Hugo's invitation. It's probably not surprising how at a remove from it all June is, but June is one of those protagonists that's becoming more and more common, especially in these Young New Yorker novels. She has a goal, she knows what she wants to be, and yet she doesn't seem all that invested in it. She continues to float along, making you wonder why she cares about comedy at all. We know she likes it when people find her funny, but there's little of her investment in herself. This is a common theme these days, and Somers does more with it here than most do. June's role as fame-adjacent but without any actual responsibilities or artistic investment is a prime spot to analyze millennial ennui. But I hoped for more from June.

This isn't a laugh-out-loud funny kind of book, more observational and quiet. But I raced through it in two sittings so it's an easy one to get through.
Profile Image for Richard Gray.
Author 2 books19 followers
April 15, 2019
Toneless and often listless, this train-of-thought narrative follows recently unemployed writer June Bloom as she bears witness to the crumbling of the titular talk show host following his retirement. Ostensibly an exploration of sexual politics and power dynamics in the #MeToo era, Somers doesn’t ever get beyond the surface. I was also a little concerned by the will they/won't they motif Somers sets up between June and Hugo's seventeen-year-old son: she is perhaps suggesting something about inherited entitlement, but June's non-sequitur fantasy moments while lying in the kid's bed don't aid in the telling. Indeed, June is ultimately a blank slate who simply is, and as the mildly amusing antics of the first half give way to melancholy final act, it’s hard to feel anything but numb.
Profile Image for Tess.
545 reviews
February 18, 2019
While I enjoyed reading this debut by Erin Somers, it left me somewhat cold and not understanding what the overall thesis of the novel was. June was a bit of a one-dimensional character to me, and while not unlikeable, I just couldn't really connect with her. I liked all of the pop culture and comedy references a lot, but the book as a whole was a disappointment.
1,231 reviews33 followers
September 6, 2018
Though set in NY and Connecticut, this tale could easily have happened in Los Angeles. High-powered aging celebrity invites an attractive underling to his mansion. We all know how the story goes. Quite timely with what’s happening with all these #metoo movement. Instead of a one-dimensional take, this debut really digs deep. I was completely invested in the story. Every quip and observation feels real. This was probably as close as I can get to being at a celeb mansion observing what all those rich and powerful men can do or get away with minus the ick factor. Well-played debut.

Thanks to the publisher for access to advance copy.
Profile Image for Mary Keane.
Author 4 books3,023 followers
January 6, 2019
This novel is moving and felt so true. And funny! I kept it within reaching distance for days and read whenever I had a moment. I haven’t done that in a long time. I loved it.
Profile Image for Cindy.
217 reviews35 followers
February 22, 2020
If you like plots with action, characters who are three dimensional and show some type of change, either for better or worse, throughout the book, If you like snappy dialogue, then this book is not for you.
Profile Image for Bookworm.
950 reviews131 followers
September 10, 2019
I had a hard time relating to this story. The characters weren’t all that interesting and the focus on comedy and fame is not something I personally enjoy reading about. As a result, I had a challenging time getting through this book. In this instance,I think it’s a case of “it’s not you, it’s me”. The writing is clever and, at times, witty, but overall, the tone felt kind of sad and dismal. When I requested it, I was expecting something else. Not my kind of book.
I received an ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Janet.
856 reviews54 followers
April 18, 2019
Here's another one that didn't live up to the hype. I'm starting to think I need to look for books that reviewers pan because I never seem to like the ones they do. This one got rave reviews from Kirkus, Publisher's Weekly and Shelf Awareness....from Janet Stewart, not so much.

I listened to this in audio and at first I thought I didn't like the voice of the narrator. But then I realized, I just really didn't like the character....do we ever learn her name? In any event, she's a 30 year old wanna-be writer and wanna-be stand-up comedienne with an obsession. His name is Hugo Best, a late night talk show host whose best years are behind him. Think Johnny Carson....I did the whole time I was reading this. The protagonist says things like "he wasn't wrong" instead of "he was right"....that sort of millennial speak that is supposed to be clever but isn't.

We're never quite sure whether they meet accidentally or it's engineered but he invites her for a weekend at his house "no funny business". But it ends up being exactly that plus a series of events that leaves them both feeling pretty badly, both physically and emotionally.

I gave it 3 stars because it's a semi-original idea....I don't recall reading other books in this vein. The writing is OK but it reads like a comedy sketch....maybe that was intentional? and the audio delivery is similar. I almost felt like I needed to order a 2 drink minimum.

Ah, when will I learn?
Profile Image for Ashley Lynne.
827 reviews6 followers
April 20, 2020
I bought this book before I realized it had such a low rating on Goodreads. As I type this review, the average rating is 2.90 stars.

Sounds about right.

This book is so pointless and meandering. And no one is likable. And while unlikable characters doesn’t bother me as long as it’s for a reason and the story is interesting, that wasn’t at all the case for this book. 😂

This book reads like some pretentious middle-aged man who’s never so much as written an essay decided one day “I have good ideas, I should write a book!” And that bothers me because I know this was written by a young woman! ZERO feminism here. Disappointing.

I’m just glad it’s over 😅
Profile Image for Karly.
98 reviews5 followers
August 14, 2018
I thought I would love this book about an aging late night talk show host and a young writer who works on his show. Although "funny" at times, I wanted it to be more lighthearted and less serious. No doubt it was well written, and if you are a fan of old comedy acts, you may very well enjoy it more than I did. But for me it was sad and a little depressing.
Profile Image for Robert Sheard.
Author 4 books302 followers
August 23, 2019
Didn't love it. Didn't hate it. It is supposed to be funny, I assume, but it struck me as lonely and dismal–for all of the characters. It has the redeeming fact that it's brief.
Profile Image for Amy.
1,281 reviews36 followers
April 28, 2019
This seemed like something I would love but it was surprisingly dull. Very uninteresting main character, very disappointing.
Profile Image for Dana Czapnik.
Author 1 book132 followers
January 8, 2019
I loved this book. I could not put it down! It's funny, dark, unexpected, sexy, and uncomfortable in the best way. June Bloom is caustic, sardonic, hilarious, and a self-aware self-saboteur. Sometimes we do things to ourselves that we know are bad for us but we do them anyway, perhaps it's inertia, or curiosity, or self-hatred, or all three. Stay Up With Hugo Best is an incredibly sharp examination of that impulse, as well as a sly satire of our obsession with fame. Loved it!
Profile Image for Stacey D. .
323 reviews25 followers
July 20, 2019
Fantastic! I loved this story, which to date is shaping up to be my favorite summer read of 2019 -- although geez, I felt soooo old after reading it. With a tinge of melancholy, it suddently dawned on me that I am closer in age to Hugo than to June. Crikey.

This was a modern day coming-of-age story, one in which the heroine comes off way more wiser than her one-time idol, the well meaning, yet skirt-chasing, egotistical, sad-clown king of late-night, Hugo Best. I laughed throughout this book, especially at the whole 'Baloney Guy app' episode. All of the characters are complex: likeable, though fraught with their own problems, they're equally dislikable at turns. I especially enjoyed Hugo's alienated (and alienating) teenage son, whose presence strikes up a palpable sexual tension with 29-year-old June that's pretty uncomfortable all around. I think I read that 'Hugo' is being made into a movie and I can't think of a better comedic actor than Greg Kinnear as Hugo, with Lily James or Mackenzie Davis playing the unreliable narrator and ambivalent heroine, June.
Profile Image for Alex.
719 reviews32 followers
April 27, 2019
People who dismiss the idea of literature, both modern and classic, tend to view it as variants on a single story: a middle-aged man grappling with the perceived failures of his life seeks solace in the arms of a much younger woman. This is often further reduced to a professor and student dynamic. In Stay Up With Hugo Best, Erin Somers flips the script with the concept “what if that alleged classic literary had its script flipped: the exact same story from the perspective of the woman”. The thing is that it’s exactly the same. A woman ineffectually tries to save a boring but over wealthy man from himself. Without finesse or an actual point of difference, Stay Up With Hugo Best doesn’t work.

After the cancellation of late night show Stay Up With Hugo Best, June Bloom is unemployed. Almost immediately after the taping of the final programme, June runs into Hugo Best himself, who invites her to spend the Memorial Day weekend at his Connecticut home. Despite being frequently out of her depth and constantly insulted, June sticks it out for all four days.

And the reader is left asking why. This is promoted as a novel for the #MeToo era — an unfortunate sobriquet that is bound to be applied to practically any book about a professional woman, regardless of its actual content — but June is a passive character who only lacks agency because she doesn’t allow it in herself. Somers is even careful to place Best’s proposition directly after he holds any power over June and, if anything, the man himself almost entirely lacks even platonic interest in his house guest. They’re two free-floating agents whose lives feel as if they barely intersect through their ostensible 72 hours together.

Stay Up With Hugo Best also has strange ideas: June is several times left alone with Best’s 17 year old son, with the implication that she will succumb to his clumsy seductions, and her toying with the idea of doing so. Apart from the knowledge that if a book was about a 29 year old narrator even so much as glancing at a 17 year old school girl the author would be run off the internet on a rail — and not collecting a slew of awards anymore, either — it’s just … not on. At that age you should be not only strong enough to resist the temptation of a teen, but also capable of completely rebuffing them. Again, Somers is not overly interested in power differentials and no one ever pressures Erin; she is just too inert to bother challenging anything or going anywhere.

As a character, Hugo Best is that awkward amalgam of several real people without being a near a real one himself. He has Jay Leno’s car collection, and a brick wall behind a stage in his basement, and a bunker full of VHS recordings of the entire run of his show (if you take a nightly show to be approximately 200 episodes a year, that’s 5000 tapes. You have to wonder how large this bunker is). Best has made many mistakes in his life, not least of which was inviting June to his house for the weekend detailed in this book, but they are all paid lip service at least. Best is a man whose career frustrations wouldn’t interest a reader if he was the book’s lead character; filtered through June’s eyes, they seem even more pathetic and insignificant. Best can cry on a bed of money on his private yacht; when we leave him there, it’s difficult to feel anything but contempt for both characters.

Stay Up With Hugo Best is a book about comedy that isn’t funny. It is a book of manners related by a cipher, whose past we barely care about and whose future we’ll never know. June’s brush with fame and fortune reveals nothing more than the trite clichés that practically any other prince and pauper story has already trampled into the ground. Read Crazy Rich Asians instead. It’s an entirely different piece, with only money in common, but it’s a better read regardless.
Profile Image for Billy.
1,569 reviews11 followers
April 23, 2019
I was so excited to read this after Carl Hiaasen recommended! But it had moments, but was quickly becoming a rather sad and melancholic story about a has been and his groupie! I enjoyed it anyway.
Profile Image for Reba GG.
42 reviews
July 2, 2022
Interesting, because it was a book I wouldn’t normally read. Also interesting, because it wasn’t very good.

Cynical, view of an uninspired twenty something woman in New York, who gets close to a famous but tired out and jaded famous comedian talk show host.

Pretty devoid world view, but interesting to enter a new world. Not sure how people stay motivated. Plot turning around her enamoring his wealth, and her semi-realizations of seeing its cracks. But not really getting much of it except the conclusion that everyone is lame.

So if you want to voyeur into uninspired urban life, go for it. If you want a magazine kind of read, go for it. I didn’t regret reading the book. But kind of like bland coffee.
Profile Image for Cindy.
1,462 reviews21 followers
June 15, 2019
2.5 stars. I honestly thought this book was suppose to be funny. Wrong! Depressing story with sad characters. Hugo is an 68 year old late night host whose show has been cancelled. June is a 29 year old aspiring comedy writer. Hugo invites June to his mansion for the weekend. Hugo who is wealthy and June who is barely able to make ends meet make quite a couple but not in THAT way! Two different personalities that led to unpredictable circumstances. I’m still not sure about the plot and what I was suppose to get out of the story. Ending left me unsatisfied.
Profile Image for Megan Prokott.
258 reviews3 followers
April 1, 2019
Sometimes you read a book that you know you wouldn’t recommend to everyone, and this is one of those books. I personally enjoyed it quite a bit, because it wasn’t the fun, fluffy, ridiculous book I expected it to be. Instead, it was an intense character study of a man coming to terms with his life now that the relevance and power he once had in large quantities is quickly dwindling and of a woman who never achieved the relevance and power she thought she would in her youth. These very honest explorations within the story are framed with the opulence of extreme fame and some very uncomfortable power dynamics.

FULL REVIEW HERE: http://meganprokott.com/stay-up-with-...
Profile Image for Linda Hill.
1,210 reviews31 followers
January 27, 2020
A chance meeting with Hugo Best after the end of his television series leads to a weekend away for June Bloom.

Now, I’ve seen mixed reviews of Stay Up With Hugo Best and I don’t think it’s a book that will please all readers because it doesn’t have a fast paced plot of twists and turns. Indeed, with a few exceptions, little actually happens over the four days of the book, but that is its entire point. Stay Up With Hugo Best shines an incisive spotlight on identity and fame and finds them wanting. There’s no unexpected ending here, but rather a mature, sometimes saddening and always fascinating exposition of the self through June Bloom’s first person narrative.

Erin Somers writes about ambition, and the way we use one another for self-promotion that ultimately leads to failure, in a manner that put me in mind of Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman. Both June and Hugo reminded me of Willy Loman because Erin Somers explores in sexual, physical, intellectual, emotional and social ways who we are and how we construct ourselves for others and use our attributes to manipulate others for our own benefit. I found both main characters, June and Hugo, equally distasteful and simultaneously mesmerising. Their personalities, balanced alongside the inclusion of real people and events gave a credibility to the text that enhanced its themes because I could relate to them as a reader.

The setting has scalpel sharp observations and descriptions of all social classes and especially aspirational America. New York, Hugo’s house and the various bars are depicted vividly in an uncompromising manner that almost made me feel as if I were observing from a height, somehow looking down on the action and places. Stay Up With Hugo Best feels intimate and atmospheric even as it entertains.

Erin Somers writes with a sassy style incorporating acerbic wit and dark humour with an eye for humanity that makes for a highly entertaining read in Stay Up With Hugo Best. I found it uncompromising, expertly crafted and actually quite moving. I thoroughly enjoyed it and would encourage readers to try it for themselves.
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