Title : The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo
Author : Taylor Jenkins-Reid
Genre : Adult Historical-Fiction
Release Date : June 13th, 2017
Publisher : Atria Books
Aging 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? Why now?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 luxurious 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.
Written with Reid’s signature talent for creating “complex, likable characters” (Real Simple), this is a mesmerizing 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 costs—to face the truth.
I’ll be frank here, but I’d not pick up The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo if there’s no hype surrounding this book. That, and also a lot of my bookish friends here often praise how amazing and beautiful this book, and so naturally, I became curious about it. After putting it off as long as I could, I finally pick it up when I’m tired of doing college assignments, and immediately became enthralled of it. In short, all the hype about this book are true.
I really didn’t expect that this book is mostly written in biography-style (albeit fictional). It started when Monique Grant, am ordinary writer at a magazine, is summoned by Evelyn Hugo herself who’s interested in writing a piece with her. Obviously, no one is more surprised than Monique herself, and she’s even more confused when Evelyn said that she’s not just going to write a piece with her–she’s giving Monique her life story so she could write a biography about her. In doing so, Evelyn will make Monique richer than she ever thought possible, but why her?
Firstly, let me say that Taylor Jenkins-Reid’s writing is vividly and beautifully done. When I was reading it, especially Evelyn’s story, it’s like I’m being transported back in time. It feels like I’m there, moving in time with Evelyn, going from a poor kid in Hell’s Kitchen to a famous actress in Hollywood, and of course, the seven husbands along the way. Also, after reading this book, I desperately wish Evelyn is actually a real figure so I could read more about her stories. She’s such an interesting character, and while she had her fair share of wrong choices and dubious acts, it made her characters more real and more human.
As for our MC, Monique, to be honest we didn’t know much about her in this book. I do love her relationship with her mother though, and how she grows up and found realization about her life through her journey with Evelyn. Monique was going through a divorce when she met Evelyn, and in a way, Evelyn’s story helped her realize how she should’ve handled it. Of course, in the end we also get to know Monique’s connection to Evelyn’s, and honestly? I did not see it coming, at all. But rest assured, it’s not coming out of nowhere.
In conclusion, The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo is a beautiful and mesmerizing book about the life of a legendary diva, and how expensive the cost of stardom is to her life. While everyone saw that being famous equal happiness, Evelyn had to hide her source of happiness most of her life in order to survive and keep her career. In some ways, this book taught me that you can’t just paint the world in black and white or good and bad, since there’s always a bit of both in everything you do. I know my words aren’t enough to describe this book, but if you haven’t read this book yet, please do yourself a favor and pick it up!