The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Maturity Level: 5
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Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life. But when she chooses unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant for the job, no one in the journalism community is more astounded than Monique herself. Why her? Why now?
Monique is not exactly on top of the world. Her husband, David, has left her, and her career has stagnated. Regardless of why Evelyn has chosen her to write her biography, Monique is determined to use this opportunity to jumpstart her career.
Summoned to Evelyn’s Upper East Side apartment, Monique listens as Evelyn unfurls her story: from making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950s to her decision to leave show business in the late 80s, and, of course, the seven husbands along the way. As Evelyn’s life unfolds through the decades—revealing a ruthless ambition, an unexpected friendship, and a great forbidden love—Monique begins to feel a very a real connection to the actress. But as Evelyn’s story catches up with the present, it becomes clear that her life intersects with Monique’s own in tragic and irreversible ways.
I’m pretty speechless.
I’ve been trying to decide all day what I want to write, and I can’t. I was expecting to enjoy this book, but I wasn’t expecting how attached I would feel to Evelyn. I wasn’t expecting all the feels. When I finished I got in bed, closed my eyes, and replayed the entire thing in my head. Twice. Guys, I can’t even right now.
Evelyn Hugo is not a good person. Her goal in this narrative is to make that perfectly clear. She does bad/wrong things, and she doesn’t regret them. She would do them exactly the same, given a second chance. But somehow that doesn’t make her a bad person. She isn’t black and white, she is human.
I think this whole book is about how nobody is black and white. Nobody is all good or all bad. We are who we are, and there is no reason to be ashamed of that. After all, if we were all exactly the same, the world would be an awfully boring place.
I’m sad that I live in a world that doesn’t have and has never had Evelyn Hugo in it.
I said I was looking for a book to make me cry in 2017. Evelyn made me cry. You find out in the first few pages of the novel that her daughter recently died of breast cancer. When Evelyn got to that part in her narrative I couldn’t not cry. No mother should have to endure that pain. And it was real. Evelyn’s pain was so, so real.
I was also surprised by how accepting I was of each of Evelyn’s husbands. I knew that she was not always going to be married for the right reasons, but when it came down to it, I was okay with it. Probably because Evelyn was okay with it. She accepted the fact that she was willing to use marriage to get ahead in her career and in life. And while it’s not the decision I would have made, I admired that she had the courage to do so. And to flaunt it for the camera.
Where Reid really showed her prowess as an author is how much I cared for Monique. Though Monique is only the interviewer and her story covers probably less than thirty pages of the novel, I found myself really worried about what was going to happen to her. How was she going to write Evelyn’s novel and keep her job? What was Evelyn going to tell her that was so life-changing? Was she ever going to see her husband again? Would she buy a new end table? I wish I knew Monique. She seems like the kind of person I might be able to be friends with.
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo is a masterpiece. Reid managed to simultaneously capture old Hollywood and the complicated journey of being a human. Read it.