The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo
By: Taylor Jenkins Reid
ISBN: 9781501139239 (Hardcover)
Published: June 13, 2017 by Atria Books
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Rating: 4/5 stars
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The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo is about glamour and fame as well as love and finding out who you truly are.
Evelyn Hugo is a movie star and icon in Hollywood. In the beginning of the novel you learn that Evelyn wants to tell Monique Grant, a magazine reporter for Vivant, her life leading up to the present. No one really knows why she chooses Monique, but they roll with it. Of course, Monique isn’t having the best time with her own personal life. Her husband leaves her and the only possible success with her career at the moment is the story about Evelyn Hugo. The story starts in the 1950’s and ends in 2017. There are seven husbands along the way, friendship, heartbreak and betrayal. In the end you will realize that Monique and Evelyn aren’t complete strangers. Their lives are intersected in a very bazaar and tragic way.
I enjoyed this novel a lot, and it deals with issues that I wasn’t really expecting to run into. The book was published in 2017 so I don’t know why all those issues didn’t cross my mind. I’m sure a lot of these problems existed in the 1950’s but no one talked about them for obvious reasons.
The characters were all very morally grey. None of them were perfect and that’s one thing I really enjoyed about this novel. I’d say there is some truth in the depiction of Hollywood. Not everything is perfect and pristine as celebrities make it seem. You never know what they are really going through behind the scenes. Evelyn Hugo wanted everyone to know that her life wasn’t what everyone dreamed of, and after 70 years she finally realized it herself.
The story starts off with an article talking about Evelyn Hugo auctioning off some of her dresses to a place called Christies for breast cancer research. No one knows the reason for it, and at the end of the book you pretty much figure out why. I’m trying not to spoil anything. I’m sure some of you have already put two and two together. Anyway, it’s a good example of how you don’t really know what a person, including a celebrity, is actually going through. It’s not always glitz and glam for some people no matter what you may think. It’s hard to think about when you only see someone on TV.
There are quite a few characters that you can fit into the LGBTQ+ community. These characters described below can’t really figure themselves out, therefore struggle to actually come out.
There is Evelyn Hugo, the main character, who you can’t really consider a lesbian, but she also doesn’t consider herself bisexual in the story. She loves who she loves. She did marry seven men. Seven men that I did not like besides maybe one. At the time, the men wanted to control the women, but Evelyn was not about that life. She was independent and strong (or so you think). I’d also like to add that she eventually has a baby believe it or not.
There is Harry Cameron. He worked with her on set of some of the movies she starred in. He married Evelyn at some point (for I believe 15 years). You kind of get this feeling from him that he is hiding something, but you can’t quite figure it out. Evelyn sees it eventually. He ends up with a few men. That’s all I’m going to say because some tragic events happen and I was not happy about it. Moving on.
Celia St. James, stars in a movie with Evelyn and at some point is considered a little bit better than Evelyn. They end up becoming best friends, and then it’s an emotional rollercoaster from there. She is a little bit more open and honest with Evelyn. She doesn’t really want to hide their relationship, but Evelyn is only worried about how she is portrayed to the public.
Monique Grant is the journalist writing the story for Evelyn Hugo. She is having struggles herself with her boyfriend leaving her and her job isn’t very successful up until this point. Her only option is to manipulated Frankie, her boss, and Evelyn into giving her what she wants. I like that Monique learns from Evelyn. She knows how to get what she wants, even though Monique has a little more self-control. Monique and Evelyn aren’t strangers. Monique had no idea that there was a reason Evelyn chose her to write the story, but it’s definitely heartbreaking. It’s a plot twist in the book that I wasn’t expecting. You’ll have to read it to find out.
Disclaimer: There is a tiny section of the book that deals with abortion.
The story was good and I would recommend it to everyone. There is definitely something to take away from it. There was grief and tragedy that helped make it realistic, considering life isn’t always rainbows and butterflies. There is love and friendships that help balance all the sadness and guilt. It does drag a tiny bit in the middle, but you just have to push through it. It’s worth it. I’ve only heard good things about this book and it wasn’t a total bust! I especially loved the writing of Taylor Jenkins Reid. I will have to read some of her other books.
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