Hey everyone! Today I’m here to write you a non-spoiler review for The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid. (What a mouthful haha.) If you’ve seen anything on any bookish platform recently, you’ve probably already heard of this book. The hype has been crazy, with no one giving it less than five stars. Do I agree with that? Let’s find out!
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 in the journalism community is more astounded than Monique herself. Why her? Why now?
Monique is not exactly on top of the world. Her husband, David, has left her, and her career has stagnated. Regardless of why Evelyn has chosen her to write her biography, Monique is determined to use this opportunity to jumpstart her career.
Summoned to Evelyn’s Upper East Side apartment, Monique listens as Evelyn unfurls her story: from making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950s to her decision to leave show business in the late 80s, and, of course, the seven husbands along the way. As Evelyn’s life unfolds through the decades—revealing a ruthless ambition, an unexpected friendship, and a great forbidden love—Monique begins to feel a very a real connection to the actress. But as Evelyn’s story catches up with the present, it becomes clear that her life intersects with Monique’s own in tragic and irreversible ways.
CW: sexual assault, rape, domestic abuse, cheating, homophobia, biphobia, alcoholism, mentions of suicide, death of a parent, death of a child
This book has two fantastic female protagonists: Evelyn and Monique. Both were well-round characters with layers and depth. If I’m honest it was nice to have two female characters having intelligent conversations and being human. It’s something I can really miss in YA books.
This book is mainly a character study of Evelyn and boy, was it done well. She’s confident, powerful, sensual and resilient. She knows what she wants. She’s also definitely morally grey and she made some questionable choices throughout her life. However, that makes her more human.
“I was gorgeous, even at fourteen. Oh, I know the whole world prefers a woman who doesn’t know her own power. But I’m sick of that.”
“Evelyn looks at me with purpose. “Do you understand what I’m telling you? 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.”
Throughout the book she tells her life story, from 14 years old to her old age: her journey to fame, her glamorous, tumultuous, scandalous and messy life in old Hollywood. It’s so fun and entertaining to read about. This book is full of intrigue and drama and it goes deeper that you might expect. I was 100% intrigued cover to cover. Obviously she tells the story of how she got seven husbands in her lifetime and together with Monique, who is there to make this story into a memoir, we have one burning question. Who was the love of her life? We get the answer to that, and surprising as it may be, it turns the book in something much greater.
But the book is also about Monique, who’s trying to become a better and more important journalist, who has only just gotten a divorce, who struggles with the loss of her father. She was so well-rounded. (I know I’ve already said that, but it’s true.) I rather enjoyed the chapters where we got snippets of her life.
“Don’t ignore half of me so you can fit me into a box. Don’t do that.”
As well as being a character study, this book gave wonderful commentary on the racism, sexism and heteronormativity of the 1960’s mainly. With Evelyn being a bisexual Cuban immigrant, Monique being biracial and a cast of LGBT characters, it did a wonderful job. It showed how hard it can be to hide fundamental parts of yourself. To have to hide your love and lover or to have to grieve in secret, knowing you’ll lose almost everything if you don’t. There’s terrible pain in that and this was heartbreaking to read at times. I sobbed. Twice.
“You imagine a world where the two of you can go out to dinner on a Saturday night, and no one thinks twice about it. It makes you want to cry, the simplicity of it. The smallness of it. You have worked so hard for a life so grand. And now all you want are the smallest freedoms. The daily peace of loving plainly.”
Overall, I would most highly recommend this and I think it deserves the hype. 5 out of 5 stars from me!
I hope you enjoyed this review! It’s been quite some time since I last wrote one. Thanks for reading! See you next time!