Title: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo
Author: Taylor Jenkins Reid
Original Publication Date: June 13, 2017
Genre(s): Historical Fiction, Contemporary, Romance, LGBT
Goodreads Synopsis: “Aging 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.”
*No spoilers below.
If you have read or watched any ‘rise-to-fame’ stories, fiction or non, The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo is no different. I predicted every single “shocker” from the get-go. I caught every hint but honestly, didn’t even need them. Nothing about the plot was unique or new. I have read a lot of celebrity memoirs and I’ve seen Star and Nashville, it’s all a replay of the same old record. Yet, while I saw it all coming, it didn’t hurt any less. I came crashing down and my heart cracked in two, over and over again.
The character of Evelyn Hugo, even only knowing her through the pages, was hard not to be entranced by. She, alone, made this book unputdownable. I could feel her strength, her shine and her glorious star power, just jumping out of every word she spoke. The reporter, Monique was too weak and naive for my liking but, that made her growth so much more satisfying to witness.
I was in love with the setting, moving back and forth between Los Angeles and New York. Reading about the ’50’s-’90’s and how much everything has changed since then, it was hypnotizing and alluring. Having the whole story come together and wrap up in 2017 was just the absolute perfect bow-tie on top. I do wish there were some sort of epilogue, or maybe another chapter at the end… I’d like to know just a tiny bit more about what happens in Monique’s future.
Dates Read: Sept. 29-Oct. 2, 2019
My Rating: 3.75 out of 5 stars
“Too much too soon makes it obvious you don’t know what you’re doing.”
“I have long operated under the idea that civility is subservience. But it hasn’t gotten me very far, that type of kindness. The world respects people who think they should be running it.”
“Don’t be so tied up trying to do the right thing when the smart thing is so painfully clear.”
“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.”
“Look what I do to these poor boys, I thought. And yet also, Here is my value, my power.”
“There was something vaguely midwestern about him, not so much in how he looked but in the way he approached people, with kindness first, then strength.”
“People would always come up to me and say, ‘I’m sure you don’t want to hear me blabbering on about how great you are,’ and I always say, as if I’m joking, ‘Oh, one more time won’t hurt.‘ But the truth is, praise is just like an addiction. The more you get it, the more of it you need just to stay even.“
“First, you have to push people’s boundaries and not feel bad about it. No one is going to give you anything if you don’t ask for it. You tried. You were told no. Get over it.”
“When you use people, be good at it.”
“I’m not suggesting that charming girls should take pity on the pretty ones. I’m just saying it’s not so great being loved for something you didn’t do.”
“If you are intolerable, let me be the one to tolerate you.”
“That’s the easiest lie to tell, one you know the other person desperately wants to be true.”
“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.”
“What did I have to be good at other than being beautiful? And taking pride in your beauty is a damning act. Because you allow yourself to believe the only thing notable about yourself is something with a very short shelf life.”
“When you are known for being gorgeous, you cannot imagine suffering a fate worse than standing next to someone and falling short.”
“No one is just a victim or a victor. Everyone is somewhere in between. People who go around casting themselves as one or the other are not only kidding themselves, but they’re also painfully unoriginal.”
“When you dig just the tiniest bit beneath the surface, everyone’s love life is original and interesting and nuanced and defies any easy definition.”