Title: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo
Author: Taylor Jenkins Reid
Blurb: Reclusive Hollywood 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, to write her story, no one is more astounded than Monique herself.
From making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950’s to leaving show business in the 80’s, and of course, the seven husbands along the way… Evelyn unspools a tale of ruthless ambition, unexpected friendship and a great forbidden love. But as Evelyn’s story nears its conclusion, it becomes clear that her life intersects with Monique’s own in tragic and irreversible ways.
Thoughts and opinions ( Light spoilers )
Pretty much everyone who loves reading has read this book. It was all accross booktok and bookstagram, and to be honest I understand why. I adored the queer representation and, maybe more so, the portrayal of bisexuality and the predjudice it entails. Evelyn Hugo is a highly imperfect heroine, something we rarely see in literature. She knows it, we know it and I love it.
It felt almost like a relief, to read a woman so blatantly written by a woman. Whilst I do not approve of all of Evelyn’s actions, she makes sense. She is an attractive young lady in the 50’s ; she couldn’t even open a bank account without her husband’s or a male relative’s permission when she first began her career. The only commodity she truly posesses when she arrives in LA is her body. Needless to say, she uses it.
A gentle reminder that women have only recently gained legal and bodily autonomy (although that is still often put in peril) in the USA.
Another refreshing aspect of this book is Evelyn’s self awareness. She is aware that she manipulated and manouvered her way to the top and yet, as she says herself, she has “compassion” for herself; she would make the same decisions again. I think that’s part of what makes this book so devastating. It is human , she is unapologetically human, and, despite the sacrifices she makes, she never quite achieves a happy ending. Which poses the question: will any of us ever achieve our happy ending? do we need one to be content?
Despite the fact that this book is centered around her relationships with her seven husbands, each one unique and often devastating, it is her gorgeous relationship with her bestfriend and the relationship between her and the love of her life that keeps you hooked. Every relationship contains its own array of flaws. Only one man comes out comes out on top, and even he eventually falls victim to the consequences of loving someone so much you feel you cannot live without them.
I will admit that I wrote “aw baby” in my annotations pretty much every ten pages, sometimes multiple times on one page. It’s not even what one would call a “sad book”. However, when Taylor Jenkins Reid wishes to write something beautiful, grab a tissue box. I was left sobbing uncontrolably at 4 am in the morning when I finished this book. Maybe I’ll ask her to write my wedding vows.
Teany tiny slight criticism (why i didn’t give it a 5/5)
My mother was the one who originally bought this book (because I told her to), and this led to both her and my grandmother reading it before me. While my mother enjoyed it, my grandmother did say that the plot twist was rather predictable. I must say I told my dad what I thought the plot twist was one hour into the book, and I was right. Did it still make me cry. Yes. But it was a little dissapointing as many people have said they found the plot twist really unexpected.
Furthermore, I almost gave up on this book at the beginning. It started rather slowly for me, so keep in mind, readers with a short attention span, hang in there.
Quotes: pieces of advice from Evelyn Hugo
I do not want you to think that I’ve forgotten Monique. She is, in her own right, one of the heroines of this book. When you read this book it’s important that you, like her, absorb some of the advice Evelyn and this book offers. I won’t write the page numbers because I feel I might end up spoiling it a little :). Furthermore, this book is packed with advice, these are just my favourite pieces.
“When you’re given an opportunity to change your life, be ready to do whatever it takes to make it happen. The world doesn’t give things you take things. If you learn one thing from me, it should probably be that”- Evelyn Hugo
“(…) I’ve never thought of myself as a force to be reckoned with. Maybe I should start thinking of myself that way; maybe I deserve to”- Monique Grant
“Why, until this moment, did I not realise that the issue is my own confidence? that the root of most of my problems is that I need to be secure enough in who I am to tell anyone who doesn’t like it to go fuck themselves? why have I spent so long settling for less when I know damn well the world expects more?” – Monique Grant
“Be wary of men with something to prove”- Evelyn Hugo
“No one is all good or all bad. I know this, of course. I had to learn it at a young age. But sometimes it’s easy to forget just how true it is. That it applies to everyone “- Monique Grant
“Some marriages aren’t really that great. Some loves aren’t all encompassing. Sometimes you separate because you weren’t that good together to begin with. Sometimes divorce isn’t an earth-shattering loss. Sometimes it’s just two people waking up out of a fog.”
“You can be sorry about something and not regret it,”- Evelyn Hugo
Favourite quote (this was hard because this book is truly gorgeous)
. “I loved you so much that I thought you were the meaning of my life… I thought that people were put on earth to find other people, and I was put here to find you. To find you and touch your skin and smell your breath and hear all your thoughts. But I don’t want to be meant for someone like you.”
And if that can’t convince you to read “The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo” by Taylor Jenkins Reid, then I don’t know what will.
Until next time, Enjoy,