The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid Book Review

Sunday, 9 February 2020

Title: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo
Author: Taylor Jenkins Reid
Publication date: 13th June 2017
Page length: 391
Publisher: Atria Books

About the book
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? 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. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo 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.

God. I really, truely, whole-heartedly LOVED this book to its core. It's so fiercely and unapologetically bold in how it handles social and political issues of old Hollywood and I'm kind of mad at myself for a) how long it took me to pick it up, and b) how quickly I got through it because I want to experience reading this book all over again. It's a book I struggled to put down. I wanted to become so completely immersed in Evelyn's life that I simply just kept reading chapter after chapter.

This book is really about Evelyn. Complicated, loveable, loud and ~ awful ~ Evelyn. She is a complex character who is undoubtedly flawed, but also one that is brave and compelling and ambitious. One who clawed her way through grit to get to get where she wanted to be, and she never gave up. She dominated the big screen for more than 4 decades; every woman wanted to be her and every man wanted to be with her.

Evelyn is one of the most iconic characters I have ever read about. She is a character I am awed by. She is completely fictional yet somehow so, so real, and her perception of old Hollywood and her experience of living right through its core is one that I can imagine to be true. It wholeheartedly feels right. Everything she describes just feels like that's how it actually was, almost like her life was ripped straight from the headlines. It's about the grim and the grime of a woman making a stand in a man's word. It's about a mixed race woman living in a white woman's world. It's about sexual preferences being extremely looked down upon by a whole society.

There are so many layers to this book and I think that's what makes it so truely incredible. It really was just a pleasure to read and become immersed in this woman's life and all the highs and lows that came with it. Evelyn is one of those characters that will stay with me for a very long time. She is such a compelling, complex character and I was captivated from start to finish. I read an interview with Taylor Jenkins Reid and she talked about how there will be a lot of people put off by Evelyn, and how she created her as a character that might not necessarily be liked, but one that was honest, and I completely get that. Evelyn is so completely and brutally upfront with her past and she will either be a character that you think went too far, or one that you respect for all she put herself through in the name of being a Hollywood bombshell.

The writing is beautiful and Taylor Jenkins Reid really did do an amazing job at bringing Evelyn to life and I know for certain that it's a book I will definitely pick up again in the future.

Verdict: ★★★★★

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