The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid is not a book that I would normally pick up. The glamour of celebrity and Hollywood does not appeal to me, and I was not the girl who had celebrity crushes in middle school. But after a few bloggers I trusted recommended the book to me, I decided to give it a shot and checked it out from the library. And man was I surprised.
From Taylor Jenkins Reid comes an unforgettable and sweeping novel about one classic film actress’s relentless rise to the top—the risks she took, the loves she lost, and the long-held secrets the public could never imagine.
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.
Filled with emotional insight and written with Reid’s signature talent, this is a fascinating journey through the splendor of Old Hollywood into the harsh realities of the present day as two women struggle with what it means—and what it takes—to face the truth.
While the beginning of the book has the feel of a tabloid, all gossip articles and shallow opinions, the heart of the book was deep, like the memoir of someone you love. Evelyn is not perfect: and I love that the book embraces her imperfections as part of who she is. This woman has to make several personal sacrifices throughout her difficult life, but she does not regret any of it.
Evelyn has been married seven times, but what does that really mean? Who is this actress that has kept the world captivated for over forty years? What does it really mean to be a woman in power? My mother is in a executive position in her work place, so often we discuss how her gender affects her career. Though we have come a long. way. from the 50’s when this novel first begins, sexism is still a very real thing and women often do not receive the same respect or compensation as their male contemporaries. I knew I was going to love the book when I read the dedication.
The novel has a flowing prose that also remains unpolished and tattered. The characters did not seem forced but like people I know in real life, with their baggage and flaws and endearing qualities that remind you we are all doing the best we can. This quotes was one of my most favorite from the entire text and has just been knocking around my head since I read it:
“People think intimacy is about sex. But intimacy is about truth. When you realize you can tell someone your truth, when you can show yourself to them, when you stand in front of them bare and their response is ‘You’re safe with me’—that’s intimacy.”
This has admittedly been a hard review for me to write though, because everything I want to truly discuss is a spoiler. *Womp womp* I hate when people say it, but this a book you must truly read for yourself to fully appreciate.
Question of the Day:
Have you read any celeb books you love? The last book on celebrities I read was Snooki from the Jersey Shore’s A Shore Thing. So yeah. I will try anything once.