The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo
By: Taylor Jenkins Reid
Opening Line: “Can you come into my office?“
Overall: This is an epic story of a woman’s life, as told by her, from childhood until death. The famous, sexy, movie star, Evelyn Hugo is telling her life story to a writer just starting out. She chose, Monique, an unknown journalist, specifically to write her life story. Monique has no idea why she was chosen over everyone else that Evelyn could have chosen to write her amazing life story. The book will automatically become a huge success if and when it is released. Evelyn Hugo became a Hollywood actress when she was 17, in 1954. She was beautiful and talented, in that order, and quickly became a huge success in Hollywood. She won an Oscar, but was best known for her stunning beauty and fabulous figure. She was also famous for her 7 marriages. Evelyn now sits in her posh apartment telling Monique the personal stories about all the movies she made, and why she made them. She talks about her friends, her enemies, and of course, all of her husbands. Evelyn also talks about all the things she had to give up, and to hide, to be a movie star and have the success and wealth she always dreamed of. She talks about her victories and failures, the things she feels she did wrong and things she knows she did right. Evelyn is a public figure, a glamorous movie star, but she is also a real person. Evelyn is brave, strong, and unapologetic for living her life the best way she knew how. Her life was filled with both love and heartbreak, with happiness and despair. Now that she is 79 years old and has outlived everyone she loved, she has finally decided to tell her story, her whole story, her whole truth.
Ovations: Although this story goes back and forth in time a lot as Evelyn recounts her life to Monique, the writer, it is not confusing at all. Actually, the writing is so good and Evelyn’s story so consuming, that when you are back in the past reading about it, it is jarring when you are back in the present time again. I was like, “Wait, what? Who is Monique?” Then you remember that is what is happening, that Evelyn is telling Monique her life story. But, you get so engrossed by Evelyn’s story, you just want to be back in her past to find out what happens next.
Evelyn is such a complex female lead character. She has never-ending, interesting layers to her. She is strong, determined, brave, powerful, smart, beautiful, cunning, stubborn, realistic, loving, opportunistic, sexy, independent, vain, devious, caring, protective, fierce, and ruthless. She lives her life the way she feels she has to, in moral shades of grey. You understand why Evelyn makes all the life choices she does, whether you agree with them or not.
Oh Well: I am going to be honest here, for the first half for the book I was reading it and thinking, this is a good book, but nothing special. I did not understand why everyone is constantly raving about it and saying how amazing it is. Well, let me just say that by the end of the book, you understand what all the hype is about. You really get absorbed in the life of Evelyn and all the other people that are a part of her life story. However, no one warns you … as I am about to do, without spoiling anything for you … that this book is a tear-jerker. That was a shock to me, and I don’t want it to be a shock to you. I was a complete emotional wreck by the end of this book! You might be too, so be prepared and do not read the last parts of this book on a bus or anywhere else in public, because if you are like me, you might be a crying mess.
Opinion: I did like this book. However, it was not at all what I expected. The
marketing for this book makes it sound like it’s a fun, soap-opera-like, Hollywood tale of a famous, glamourous, actresses exciting life who was beautiful and talented and got married seven times …. like Elizabeth Taylor or something. It is like that, but only sort of. Really this story is absorbingly complex and very well written. It covers some very deep, difficult topics, and it will move you. I believe it will get you thinking about your own life and your own choices. For better or for worse, this book will stick with you, and I think you will remember it forever. I know I will. Rating 8 out of 10