Platinum hair, bushy, black eyebrows, seven husbands…am I Evelyn Hugo? No. No I am not. Evelyn Hugo is a fictional Hollywood icon and millionaire. I am neither. #dirtpoorbutspiritwealthy
I discovered Taylor Jenkins Reid earlier this year when I read Daisy Jones and the Six. I loved Daisy and was hungry for more. Thankfully, TJR has been around for a minute, so now I can work my way through her backlog.
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo is a lot of things: Old Hollywood glamour, family drama, tabloids and Twitter. But, at its very core, The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo is a love story.
A synopsis, in brief.
Monique is a journalist. In her mid-thirties, she’s struggling to break out and her marriage is failing. Basically, she’s living her most mediocre at best life. When her boss tells her she’s been requested by none other than Evelyn Hugo to write a story, no one is more confused than Monique. So, she goes to Evelyn’s intending to write a story about a charity auction the legendary actress is participating in when she is offered a deal she can’t refuse. Evelyn Hugo has a secret, and she’s ready to tell the world everything. She just needs Monique to do it.
Told in Taylor Jenkins Reid’s unique interview style, Evelyn’s story begins in the ’50s. A young girl in Hells Kitchen, Evelyn vows to do what it takes to get to Hollywood and become a star. And she does. She’s ruthless, she’s manipulative, and she uses what she has to make a name for herself. She’s also bold, determined, ambitious, and way ahead of her time. Oh, and, of course, there are the seven husbands. Here’s what I love about Taylor Jenkins Reid. The women – Evelyn, Celia, Monique, Connor – this is their story. The husbands, save one or two, are merely a means to an end. A way to live the life they want to live. It isn’t about them, not really. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo is two story lines, from two different time periods that converge in an unexpected place that, once revealed, makes perfect sense.
This book is smart, sad, clever, and beautifully written by a very capable author.
Now for the **SPOILERY TYPE STUFF**
Okay, you’ve been warned. Twice.
If you are looking for Old Hollywood from the queer perspective, this book is for you. Unable to be who they truly are, fearing being blackballed in the community or even imprisonment, the characters in this book do things that are, frankly, absurd. It’s not absurd that they did them, it’s absurd that it was necessary in the first place. With mentions of both the Stonewall Riots and the AIDS crisis of the 1980s, Seven Husbands, though fiction, mirrors the stories and lives of real life Hollywood legends during the time period and does so in a way that the reader feels their fear and aggravation. And the stories are told in a captivating, page-turning way. I am officially a Taylor Jenkins Reid fan and you should be, too. She’s rad.
Did you miss my last book review? You can read it here.