When I was in Ateneo Splendid in Buenos Aires (one of the most Instagrammable bookstores in the world), I came across this novel about the famous Eva Duarte Perón, the first lady of Argentina in the 1940s. Eva (also known as Evita) was an emblematic figure of Argentina, known for helping the poor and fighting for women’s suffrage. Having grown up in El Junín, she moved to Buenos Aires at the young age of 15. She climbed the social ladder quite quickly as a model, actress and radio star. When she met General Juan Perón, she helped him on his presidential campaign, acquiring two titles – Eva Perón and First Lady.
This biographical novel is unique in many ways. First, the narration shifts from third person to first person as Eva Peron. Secondly, it jumps from one-time capsule to another, from her deathbed to her past. It recounts her life, her struggles, and her love not only for Juan Perón but for Argentina. Many people are fascinated with Eva Perón and if you are one of them, you should absolutely buy this book. I will say, although it does present a more flattering image of Eva Perón, which the author addresses in the forward. During my time in Argentina, I asked about her and many said that it is a 50/50 toss-up – some people love her, and others despise her. The book touches on some of the problematic points about Eva, the biggest one being her vanity and high-end fashion. As someone serving her people, the “descamisados”, or “those without shirts”, wearing Chanel was a bit of an oxymoron. Although in the novel she claims that she stays true to herself and her upbringing, it does shed light on some of the reasons why she was not beloved by all. There are many reasons to enjoy this book. It is heart-warming, it explores the personal side of Eva, and at the end of the novel, there were photos with captions, including the chapters where the events were mentioned. This was a very unique addition to the book and allows the reader to connect with what they read. So go and buy this book when you can! It’s a very enjoyable read about the famous Eva Duarte Perón and her short but very paramount life.