Review: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo (Taylor Jenkins Reid)
You do not know how fast you have been running, how hard you have been working, how truly exhausted you are, until someone stands behind you and says, “It’s OK, you can fall down now. I’ll catch you.”
– The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo (Taylor Jenkins Reid)
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo
Author: Taylor Jenkins Reid
Page Count: 392
Published: 13 June 2017
Plot: (10 / 10) Characters: (10 / 10) Ending: (10 / 10)
Ageing and reclusive Hollywood movie icon 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 is more astounded than Monique herself. Why her?
Monique is not exactly on top of the world. Her husband has left her, and her professional life is going nowhere. Regardless of why Evelyn has selected her to write her biography, Monique is determined to use this opportunity to jumpstart her career.
Summoned to Evelyn’s apartment, Monique listens in fascination as the actress tells her story. From making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950s to her decision to leave show business in the ‘80s, and, of course, the seven husbands along the way, Evelyn unspools a tale of ruthless ambition, unexpected friendship, and a great forbidden love. Monique begins to feel a very real connection to the legendary star, but as Evelyn’s story near its conclusion, it becomes clear that her life intersects with Monique’s own in tragic and irreversible ways.
You know when you find a story that you can’t put down, but you don’t want it to end? The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo has become my new favourite book (which is not something I say lightly!) I am completely obsessed with it. I can’t believe I hadn’t read it until now – I’ve never read anything like it.
“People are messy, and love can be ugly. I’m inclined to always err on the side of compassion.”
I actually listened to the audiobook of the story, and I think the narration is excellent, but I bought the physical book the second I finished listening as I wanted to be able to hold it and read it again! I don’t think I’ve ever been so captivated or enchanted by a story – I’ve got a few books on my TBR that I’m excited to read but I genuinely didn’t want to start anything new after I finished Evelyn Hugo, I just wanted to go right back to the beginning of her story.
The story is an incredible portrayal of a strong, complicated, brave and unapologetic woman, who will ultimately do anything for those she loves. She was a Cuban woman in a white man’s world, determined to make it as an actress and she worked tirelessly for what she wanted. The story looks at race, sexuality, homophobia, and seamlessly weaves moments in history into it, creating an absolute masterpiece of a book.
The characters in the story are complex, and each of them became so real to me. I absolutely adored Harry, and I loved reading about his relationship with Evelyn over the years, her constant. I wasn’t convinced by Monique at first – I liked her enough, but didn’t initially care about her personal life, but looking back, I loved the growth and development of her character. I’ve already started listening to the book again, and I appreciate her a lot more, rather than just seeing her as a narrative tool.
“People think that 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.”
I was naturally intrigued by the question of why Evelyn had chosen Monique to write her story, and although as the story went on, I had an inkling what the connection might be, guessing it didn’t take anything away from the story.
The story is so beautifully woven together, the descriptions are so vivid and powerful, I forgot that Evelyn Hugo was a fictional character, I was disappointed I couldn’t actually watch all her films!
So this has officially become my favourite book. I think everyone should read it. Aside from it being an incredible story, it’s the perfect escape for right now.